An Upper West Side woman lost the bulk of her savings after thieves hacked into her real estate lawyer’s email and duped her into wiring them more than $746,000, she claims in a lawsuit.
Leila Meltzer was living in a studio in Lincoln Towers when she got the chance in 2021 to buy a bigger, 739-square-foot one-bedroom apartment with a balcony in the same building on West End Avenue.
Meltzer, 77, agreed to pay $849,000 for the new apartment and lined up a buyer for her 575-square-foot studio, using a combination of a family inheritance and her life savings to pay for the new pad.
After shelling out the 10% down payment, the retired nurse got emails in October 2021 from her presumed attorney Debra M. Powell, instructing her to wire the remaining $746,100, according to the Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit.
Meltzer sent the money — only to find out two days later that the requests were fake, she claimed in the legal filing.
“Powell did not see this email or learn anything about what was happening to her client because her email account was under the control of the hackers,” Meltzer said in the lawsuit against Powell, alleging the attorney was “oblivious to the threat of cybercrime” and “failed to take even the most rudimentary steps to protect Meltzer from cyberfraud.”
By the time Meltzer realized what happened, it was impossible to claw the money back because the thieves had quickly withdrawn it, she said in court papers.
Meltzer was forced to cancel her purchase of the new home and is stuck in her studio, she said in court papers.
READ FULL ARTICLE ON NY POST