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Woman, 63, legally adopted by man with dementia so she can inherit his apartment

By Mason White 2:09 PM April 6, 2014
Apartment building illustration 

By: Sanvi Rizvi
(Scroll down for video) A 63-year-old woman asked an elderly man to adopt her as his daughter so she can legally inherit his apartment.

While most people call it a scam, the woman said it was done legally and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

Pamela Becker, 63, of New York, found an ingenious way to get herself a rent controlled apartment. Becker, who now calls herself Maria DeTommaso, was legally adopted by an older man with dementia, just weeks before he died.

Now, as she is legally the man’s daughter, Becker will inherit Nicholas DeTommaso’s $100 a month, two bedrooms rent-controlled apartment in a popular neighborhood of Long Island City, Queens.

After the man died at age 85, the couple who owns the apartment, took Becker to the Queens Housing Court and they want her to get out of the apartment.

However, Becker said that she has full legal rights to the apartment. The average price for a two-bedroom apartment in the neighborhood is about $3,000.