GOUVERNEUR – Former village Mayor Christopher Miller has been charged with grand larceny for allegedly selling a house that he owned jointly with another man.
Miller, 30, of 171 Rowley St., was charged with third-degree grand larceny following an investigation into a fraudulent land contract sale of a 31 Edith St. home.
St. Lawrence County Sheriff's deputies say Miller allegedly failed to tell the buyers, Ron and Heather Sliter, that the property he had sold them was jointly owned, by himself and Dylan Liebenow, of Gouverneur.
Deputies say he did not have the right to sell the property, as he was not the sole owner.
Deputies say Miller and the Sliter's agreed to a sale price of $50,000 for the property. The arrangement, according to deputies, was a $10,000 down payment and payments of $560 per month with a 4 percent interest rate for 30 years.
Deputies say Miller claimed the contract was reviewed by a local law firm, but further investigation revealed this may have been untrue.
The initial payment of $10,000 and half of April's payment were transferred from the Sliter's personal account to an account owned by Shannon Degroot.
Deputies say the Sliters discovered the house was jointly owned in May, when Liebenow showed them a copy of the deed listing him as a joint owner.
A confrontation allegedly took place at the property when Miller and Liebenow discussed the sale.
Deputies say Miller told the Sliters to call local police if Liebenow returned to the property.
Deputies say Miller then allegedly used his phone with the Sliters present and claimed he was talking to his attorney, who agreed to draw up a new contract.
Deputies say the Sliters thought the issued had been resolved, but several weeks later Miller approached the Sliters asking if they were interested in buying his half of the house and taking his name off the deed.
The Sliters declined, according to deputies.
The Sliters allegedly asked for a copy of the new contract, but were presented with the original contract with a new lease to buy option.
Deputies say the Sliters then contacted the law firm,Miller had claimed to be using and discovered the firm was not familiar with the case.
The new contract also failed to show the $10,000 down payment made by the Sliters, according to deputies.
After further the investigation. the Sliters allegedly discovered that the house also had $30,000 in judgments against it that had not been disclosed at the time of the sale, deputies said.
The Sliters then contacted the St. Lawrence County Sheriff's department to investigate the sale as a criminal matter.
Deputies arrested Miller who was arraigned and released by Canton Town Justice Christopher Curley.
Miller was released under probation supervision. An order of protection was also issued.