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Queens squatter who tried to prove address with Shake Shack receipt is indicted for burglary, identity theft: DA

🎃A squatter who tried to use a Shake Shack receipt to prove legal rights to a Queens house was indicted on charges including burglary and identity theft, prosecutors said Monday.

🍌Lance White-Hunt, 24, of 18th Street in Brooklyn, went so far as to sue the actual homeowners — Denis Kurlyand and Juliya Fulman — back in March to cement his legal right to live in the $930,000 home on Lakewood Avenue.

But his plan backfired and he has been hit with an 18-count indictment that could put him behind bars for 15 years if he’s convicted, according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office.

Denis Kurlyand and Juliya Fulman, the owners of the duplex on Lakewood Avenue in Jamaica, Queens, were being sued by squatters. @julie_julz4/Instagram
The Lakewood Avenue duplex is at the center of an unusual lawsuit in which two alleged squatters are suing the homeowners after they were escorted off the property last month. Gregory P. Mango

🍒“You cannot claim rights to a home that you have entered illegally,” DA Melinda Katz said in a statement. “My office will not allow individuals to capitalize on the confusion surrounding squatters’ rights for their own personal gain.

ཧ“We will bring criminal charges and secure indictments not only for the unlawful occupancy, but also for any forged documents used in the commission of the crime,“ she continued. “The law does not permit illegal residency, and we will continue to prosecute such cases in Queens.”

White-Hunt is facing charges of second-degree burglary, two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, five counts of first-degree identity theft, attempted grand larceny and other crimes, the DA’s office said.

He’s scheduled to return to Queens Supreme Court on June 11.

A Shake Shack delivery receipt was presented in court by a lawyer representing the two men suing a Queens couple claiming they were “unlawfully locked out” of the residence.

ᩚᩚᩚᩚᩚᩚ⁤⁤⁤⁤ᩚ⁤⁤⁤⁤ᩚ⁤⁤⁤⁤ᩚ𒀱ᩚᩚᩚWhite-Hunt and his accomplice, Rondie L. Francis, made headlines in early April after they launched their dubious lawsuit, which a judge has since dismissed.

🎐As part of the suit, the pair submitted various pieces of evidence — including an application approval letter, a rental lease, mail addressed to them and the infamous Uber Eats receipt for $25.27 that purportedly showed they had food delivered to the house months before.

Francis and Hunt claim they have a lease and have paid rent on the house and have been illegally locked out.

What you need to know about squatters in New York:

What are squatter’s rights in New York?

Squatters in New York state can claim a legal right to remain on a property without the owner’s permission after 10 years of living there. However, in New York City, a person only needs to be on the property for 30 days to claim squatter’s rights.

Why is it so hard to get rid of a squatter?

🐷Squatters are allowed a wide range of rights once they have established legal occupancy, making it difficult to evict them.

How does someone become a squatter?

𓂃Some of the scenarios in which a person becomes a squatter include: a tenant refusing to pay rent, a relative of a former owner refusing to leave the property or even a stranger who entered the property and never left.

𓂃According to , squatters must have a reasonable basis for claiming the property belongs to them and must treat the home as if they were an owner — such as doing yard work or making repairs.

How can a property owner get rid of a squatter?

𓄧A property owner must first send a 10-day eviction notice and then file a court complaint if the order is ignored. If approved by a judge, the owner can get a summons and have a sheriff evict the squatter.

Why does the law provide squatters with rights?

The law was designed to help prevent long-term tenants from getting evicted. New York City’s law was partially made in response to vacant and abandoned buildings that were becoming a blight on the city.

How can property owners protect themselves from squatters?

♎Owners should avoid keeping any properties vacant for an extended period of time. They should also make sure the building is secure, has adequate lighting and has surveillance cameras installed.

If a squatter does appear, owners should notify the police quickly before squatter’s rights are established.

The documents were meant to establish their move-in date, since New York City law declares squatters must only occupy a property for 30 days before they’re eligible for legal protections that make it difficult to evict them.

🐼The pair wanted the court to make Kurlyand and Furman give them a front-door key or give them permission to change the locks.

😼But the actual owners told The Post that the documents were all fake.

Court documents revealed the inside of the home.

✃“Everything they’re presenting is fraudulent,” Kurlyand said, with Fulman further claiming that the documents are “clearly photoshopped.”

The DA said in her statement that the owner’s real estate broker made regular trips to the property after putting the house up for rent in February 2024.

But a few weeks later, the broker noticed someone had changed the locks — and she saw White-Hunt inside, according to the DA’s office.

The squatters want a court to force the owners to give them a key to the front door, or grant them permission to change the locks.

She called the police, and White-Hunt told officers that he’d been living there since January.

As proof, he handed them a rental lease signed by the broker — who took one look and said she’d never seen the document and that the signature was fake, according to prosecutors.

ꦰLater, White-Hunt handed cops phone and electric bills as proof of residence. But the phone and electric companies confirmed they were also fake, the statement said.

White-Hunt sued the homeowner’s LLC and the broker, but the court later determined the lease he handed over was different from the one he handed cops.

The district attorney’s Detective Bureau arrested him on May 13.