When convicted fraudster Joseph Makhani allegedly hatched a plan to steal a $2.2 million Harlem brownstone in 2012, the home was dilapidated, with a hole in the roof and an elderly owner who spent her days collecting cans on the street.

The owner, Veronica Palmer, might have been vulnerable personally, but Makhani enhanced his chances of snatching her stately three-story house at 107 West 118th St. with a cunning tactic common among property thieves, according to property and court records examined by The Post.

He sued himself, the documents show.

The 58-year-old accused scam artist, who was arrested and indicted by the state Attorney General in July on charges including mortgage fraud, falsifying business records and criminal possession of stolen property. Well versed in state courts and property battles, Makhani had his lawyer file paperwork claiming the rightful owner of the building went by the name Palmer…

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