The death of Queens judicial activist Sunny Sheu is the subject of a chilling investigation in the New York investigative newspaper Black Star News.Here’s a quick recap.
On a calm spring afternoon eleven years ago, Sunny Sheu’s lunch was interrupted by a knock on his front door. It was Tower Insurance agent, there to inspect the home for its new owners.
The Queens resident had been victim of a complex scam that started with a forged power of attorney and led to a mortgage with Centex Home Equity. The story ended with his death from blunt force trauma to the head almost one year ago today.
Sheu refinanced his house in his brother’s name in 2000. Sheu’s mortgage broker, Roman Chiu then forged Shue’s brother’s signature on a power of attorney and received a mortgage from Centex for Sheu’s home.
After alerting the police, the bank that held the mortgage, and the title insurer, Sheu gathered together the forged paperwork, and the parties responsible were arrested and sent to jail.
Sheu assumed that would be the end of it, but Centex–the issuer of the bogus mortgage–ignored the police reports as well as the evidence and foreclosed on the house.
The foreclosure sale occurred January 28, 2005.
“Centex bought the property for $1,000 from Amy Cheng, the fraudster,” Sheu said to Black Star. “That was not even her real name. How can you buy property from someone who does not exist?”
Finally, the case was assigned to Justice Joseph Golia in the State Supreme Court of Queens. Although extensive documentation had been enough to send the forgers to jail, Judge Golia said the assertion that the fraud occurred was “misleading and disingenuous at best.”
Following this ruling, Sheu began his own investigation. He found a list of Golia’s properties and went to the OCA Ethics Department to check the list against the judge’s financial disclosure forms.
According to Sheu, he found major discrepancies, including a $1 million beach home on Breezy Point Long Island. Judge Golia did not return phone calls from Black Star seeking comment on this matter. He also did not return a call from Business Insider.
Sheu’s allegations were enough to get the director of the OCA Ethics Department Janice Howard to ask Golia for an amended financial disclosure statement. A last chance to come clean.
When Sheu went to pick up his copy of the amended statement, he brought a friend with a video camera. When he saw the paper lacked all the property conflicts Sheu had found, he’s recorded saying: “Now I’ve got him! I’ve got enough evidence to put Golia in Jail.”
Understanding the seriousness of the allegations, Sheu finally recorded a video stating that if any harm came to him, investigators should look to Judge Golia. We have embedded that video below.
According to Sheu’s death certificate, three days later that he was found dead from a severe blow to the skull. The death has been ruled an accident by the medical examiner and no investigation has been conducted.
Further questions were raised by Black Star News:
Sheu’s associates also question why NYPD officers removed Sheu’s body from the Queens hospital, at 5 AM, hours after his death, and transferred it to the Medical Examiner, who was provided with a letter stating that “no criminality” was involved, all without even a cursory investigation.
At the same time, the precinct involved in the removal, the 109, insisted that Sheu had suffered “no head trauma”, a position contradicted by the Medical Examiner, who concluded that Sheu died of “blunt force trauma to the head with skull fractures and brain injuries”.
Darkening the story further is the improper treatment of Mr. Sheu’s body by the New York Queens Hospital and their false statements regarding his injuries. (The role of the New York Hospital of Queens in the disposition of Sheu’s body will be elucidated in part two of this series.)
Add the epilogue of the NYPD’s refusal to release relevant documents requested by this newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)- and all the components of a deeply disturbing mystery are in place.
What happened to Shue and the antagonism between him and Judge Golia may never be fully known, but Black Star’s report raises serious questions about the judge’s ruling and Shue’s death.
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