Dutch Fraudster Sells at The Dakota

The Real DealMay 16, 2011

Jan-Dirk Paarlberg, the Dutch investor who was convicted of fraud, forgery and money laundering in the Netherlands last year, has unloaded his two-bedroom apartment at the Dakota for $4.6 million, as he continues his battle to stay out of prison.


The six-room co-op at 1 West 72nd Street, which has views of Central Park as well as 14-foot ceilings and comes with a studio on the ninth floor, was one of several residences Paarlberg owned worldwide before he was found guilty of participating in a $23.5 million extortion scheme.


The buyer, public records show, is Bettina Caiola, the widow of New York property owner and Ferrari enthusiast Benny Caiola, who died last year. She declined to comment through a spokesperson.


According to previous reports by the Wall Street Journal, Dutch authorities seized Paarlberg’s properties in the Netherlands, Portugal, France and the Netherlands Antilles, and obtained a restraining order from a federal judge in Manhattan last year that prohibited him from selling the Dakota unit without court approval. (Coincidentally, that unit was once owned by another controversial Dakota resident, former board president Alphonse Fletcher, who sued the building for racial discrimination in February.) Paarlberg later reached an agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s office that allowed him to turn over the proceeds of the sale to U.S. marshals at closing.


A spokesperson for the U.S. Marhsals Service confirmed today that proceeds from the sale, which closed May 3, “have gone directly to the U.S. Marshals Service Asset Forfeiture Fund pending further order from the courts.”


Paarlberg, who paid $4.5 million for the apartment in 2001, was sentenced in June 2010 to four-and-a-half years behind bars for his fraudulent activities, but as of February was free pending an appeal. His attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.


Prudential Douglas Ellliman broker Louis Leone, who had the listing for Paarlberg’s apartment with colleagues Jason Walker and Kim Shepard-Fabrizi, declined to comment.