Dentist slay suspect sis’ witness tamper trial begins

Natella Natanova remains calm as she takes a break during jury selection for her witness tampering trial in Queens Criminal Court. Photo by Ellis Kaplan
By Ivan Pereira

Natella Natanova has repeatedly denied that she threatened the brother of a slain Forest Hills dentist, but an investigation by the Queens district attorney's office into her past financial dealings has raised serious questions about her credibility.

Natanova is the sister of Mazoltuv Borukhova, who is facing murder charges in the playground shooting of her estranged husband, Dr. Daniel Malakov, who was gunned down in a Forest Hills playground.

Minutes before the court began to select a jury for Natanova's witness tampering trial, Assistant District Attorney Brad Leventhal presented Supreme Court Justice Arthur Cooperman Monday with evidence that the 39-year-old mother misled numerous creditors, banks and lenders, including JP Morgan Chase, when she applied for five separate mortgages.

According to the loan applications, dated between January 2005 and July 2006, the Uzbek immigrant stated she had hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets working as a “senior program analyst” at a Glendale taxi company called Communicar Inc. and as an “operation's manger” at her husband's dental office in Forest Hills, the prosecutor said.

“There are a number of bad acts… related to her credibility and willingness to place her own interest above the rest of society,” Leventhal told the judge.

The car company claimed Natanova, who is the older sister of murder suspect Borukhova, never worked for them and she has indicated to the IRS on tax forms that she was not employed during the years she applied for the loans, Leventhal said. The undisclosed mortgages were used to purchase two homes in Illinois and to purchase and refinance a house located at 68-08 112th St. in Forest Hills, according to the assistant DA.

Natanova's attorney, Melvyn Roth, dismissed the accusations and said his client never misled the mortgage agencies, but Levanthal countered the argument by pointing out that her signature, Social Security number and date of birth were all entered on the applications.

A Commuicar representative declined to comment. A man who lives next to the Forest Hills house and did not identify himself said it was rented out to new residents a couple of months ago, but he did not know much about his new neighbors.

Cooperman accepted the prosecutor's findings and gave him permission to use the information during his examination, set for sometime this week.

If convicted, Natanova, who was in court with her mother Esta, sister Sofia, husband, son and daughter, faces up to four years in prison, according to the DA.

Natanova's trial predates the pending fall hearings for her sister, Borukhova, who, along with her distant uncle, Mikhail Mallayev, is charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy in the death of Malakov.

Malakov, also an Uzbek immigrant, was shot to death Oct. 28 in the Annadale Playground in Forest Hills as he was dropping off his 4-year-old daughter, Michelle, to visit her mother, Borukhova, 34, who had lost custody of the girl days before the shooting.

Mallayev, 50, was arrested at his residence in suburban Atlanta three weeks later after police matched his fingerprints to prints left on an abandoned makeshift silencer used by the shooter.

In February, police arrested Borukhova after investigators discovered she and Mallayev had made more than 90 calls to each other in the weeks leading up to the shooting and only two afterwards. Prosecutors claim the two had Malakov killed in vengeance for his winning custody of the girl.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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