A New York attorney is being charged with stealing $70,000 from his medical malpractice clients, according to Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe. The clients, a husband and wife, were plaintiffs in a medical malpractice case.
The couple was sent a $70,000 check by the defendant in the case in an effort to settle the matter. The plaintiffs, though, did not want to settle for less than $350,000 and told their attorney this when they handed the check over to him. The attorney allegedly told the plaintiffs that he would return the check to the other party in the lawsuit, but he deposited the money into his own bank account instead.
He then falsely filed an agreement and release to settle the case without the knowledge of consent of the plaintiffs. The attorney was charged with grand larceny in the second degree, criminal possession of a forged instrument, and offering a false instrument for filing. He faces up to 15 years in prison on the charges.
In a press release, Zugibe said the defendant “in this case is accused of betraying his clients. Having already been injured by the negligent acts of others, this unsuspecting couple was again victimized by their lawyer. This arrest should serve as a warning to unscrupulous professionals who seek to prey on their clients.”