Real Estate CEO Stole $17 Million

Real Estate CEO Stole $17 Million

MANHATTAN—A former real estate executive at Max Capital Management Corporation has been charged with stealing more than $17 million from a panoply of banks and individuals.

The defendant, Adam Hochfelder, 37, of East 96th St., New York, has been indicted on six counts of first degree grand larceny, two counts of second degree grand larceny, 24 counts of second degree forgery, 24 counts of first degree falsifying business records, one count each of first degree scheme to defraud and first degree offering a false instrument for filing.

Prosecutors say the crimes charged in the indictment occurred between October 2002 and February 2008.

Hochfelder worked as chairman and chief executive officer of Max Capital Management Corporation, which he co-founded in 1996 with Richard Kalikow, until the end of 2004.

In 2002, Hochfelder purchased Kalikow’s share of the business, and entered into a partnership with Anthony Westreich. Under the new partnership, Max Capital was a privately held commercial landlord and real estate firm in New York City. In 2004, the partnership between Hochfelder and Westreich dissolved.

The investigation leading to the arrest revealed that from October 2002 to March 2007, Hochfelder allegedly took on a series of personal loans from business partners, family, friends, and banks totaling over $17 million by allegedly misrepresenting the value of his personal and professional holdings. 

In January 2003, he applied for and was granted a $5 million dollar personal loan from North Fork Bank. In April 2003, he obtained an additional $5 million personal loan from Bank of America. Unknown to both banks, Hochfelder provided them with forged documents reflecting false information regarding his liquidity and assets. In these documents Hochfelder inflated some, and entirely created other, equity interests in property he never owned or in which he had little to no interest at all. He also repeatedly forged the signature of his business partner, Anthony Westreich, claiming that Max Capital and its partners agreed to allow the business’s income stream to be used as collateral for the loans. 

The investigation further revealed that Hochfelder stole over $2 million from friends and family. In early 2004, he asked a childhood friend for a $600,000 loan and his uncle for a $700,000 loan and promised his apartment at 975 Park Avenue as collateral.  However, at the time they lent him the money, Hochfelder’s apartment was already over encumbered by preexisting loans totaling well in excess of $4 million, which was the apartment’s appraised value at the time. 

Hochfelder allegedly misrepresented the number of liens that existed on the apartment to all of his lenders and even filed a false Uniform Commercial Code termination with the county clerk in order to hide one of the many liens from his other lenders. 

In September 2003, Hochfelder lured a family member into investing $1.3 million by creating a fictitious business venture, which purported to buy foreclosed mortgages of Harlem and Brooklyn brownstones that the business would renovate and sell at a profit.  However, after receiving the money, he allegedly never purchased any brownstones and instead used the stolen funds to pay capital calls at Max Capital and his own personal expenses.

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