NY Attorney Charged With Swiping $300K Of Clients' Money
- Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced today that Joseph Levine, a 59-year-old recently disbarred attorney from Hewlett, has been arrested and charged with stealing more than $300,000 from two clients he was hired to represent in legal matters during the past year. Mr. Levine is facing felony counts of Grand Larceny in the Second and Third Degrees, and two counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree.
According to the allegations in one case:
Levine counseled one client to settle a personal injury lawsuit that awarded his client $300,000. He traveled to the Pennsylvania office of the insurance carrier to pressure the insurance company into cutting the check immediately because his client’s daughter was having heart surgery and needed the money. After being issued the $300,000 check by the insurance adjuster, Levine then forged the signatures of his client and her husband and deposited the check in his bank account. After three months of writing dozens of checks from his account, his balance on the account stood at a negative $139.44. To date, the client has not received any of the settlement proceeds.
Reportedly, The Lawyers Fund for Client Protection of the State of New York has reimbursed Levine’s client $250,000 since the theft. The fund was established in 1982 and serves as a reimbursement mechanism for client funds that are lost due to the dishonest conduct of lawyers licensed in New York State.
According to the allegations in a second case:
Levine received a $10,000.00 down payment on a home in May to hold on behalf of a client. The sale fell through and in response to the client's request for a return of the money, Levine suggested that he should hold on to the funds, in the hopes that he could resurrect the real estate deal. The client continued contact with Levine throughout the summer about the money but has yet to receive a refund.
For more, see DA: Lawyer Pocketed $300k from Clients (Levine stole personal injury settlement from a client trying to pay for her daughter’s heart surgery).
For those ripped off due to dishonest conduct by a New York attorney, see The Lawyers Fund for Client Protection of the State of New York.
For other states, see: