The real estate market in New York may see buyers and sellers moving residences and businesses at lucrative prices. Those interested in real estate investing might work with an attorney to assist with various transactions, including contract reviews and escrow accounts. Scores of sales close with all parties performing their jobs ethically, but that is not always the case. In late 2021, an Empire State real estate attorney received a prison sentence for illegal behavior.
A concerning white-collar crime case
Transferring funds from a client’s escrow account to personal ones to finance business and lifestyle expenses could lead to serious criminal charges. One attorney appears to have misappropriated funds in such a way, and the amount adds up to $14.6 million. These millions of dollars come from roughly 35 different clients who discovered the attorney took the money.
The attorney pleaded guilty to several charges of grand larceny, along with scheming to defraud. The attorney faces a maximum prison sentence of 13 1/2 years in prison.
Charges and prosecutions by the district attorney
Pleading guilty to white-collar crimes could keep the defendant from facing a worse prison sentence than if the case went to trial. Sometimes, the evidence proves overwhelming, and a guilty verdict seems unavoidable. Given the circumstances, plea bargaining to lesser or fewer charges may lead to a preferable conclusion.
Leniency might be possible at sentencing, depending on the evidence and the circumstances. The judge may agree with requests for reduced prison time.
Guilt beyond a reasonable doubt remains the bar to convict persons accused of white-collar crimes. A jury may find a defendant not guilty if the prosecutor cannot fulfill that burden.