Saturday, November 21, 2015

Disbarred Long Island Lawyer Already Facing Charges Of Stealing $1.2 Million In Eminent Domain Proceeds From Elderly Disabled Client Whose Land Was Taken From Her By Local Gov't Now Charged With Pocketing $85K From Another Elderly Woman Needing Help Getting Reverse Mortgage

In Mineola, New York, Newsday reports:
  • A disbarred lawyer who's already facing charges for allegedly stealing $1.2 million from a disabled client is now accused of stealing from an elderly former client and spending the money to buy limos and a vintage Corvette, Nassau prosecutors said Monday.

    Janice Jessup, 68, surrendered Monday to face new felony charges of grand larceny, criminal possession of a forged instrument and falsifying business records.

    The Nassau district attorney's office said she stole more than $85,000 from a woman who, at 85, hired Jessup in 2008 to help get a reverse mortgage on her Roosevelt home.

    Jessup, who lives in Baldwin and Charlotte, North Carolina, declined to comment on the new allegations while leaving Hempstead district court after her arraignment. A judge released her on her own recognizance, ordering her to keep wearing a GPS monitoring device she was given in her earlier case.

    Jessup is free on $50,000 bond after her arrest in April, when she pleaded not guilty to an indictment charging grand larceny and scheme to defraud.

    Prosecutors alleged then that Jessup, who also goes by a married surname of Jones, stole money from a physically and mentally disabled client who had owned land that was taken by the government, through eminent domain, and used to build New Cassel's Yes We Can Community Center. Authorities claimed Jessup never gave that client the money the government paid out. In 2010, an appellate court disbarred Jessup after she had faced more than a dozen professional misconduct allegations.

    Her arraignment attorney, Joseph Norton, referred a request for comment Monday to the defendant's attorney, Ira Weissman. Weissman later declined to comment.

    Acting District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement that "stealing from the elderly is especially despicable," and her office would aggressively prosecute Jessup.

    In the new case, prosecutors are alleging Jessup in 2011 got a power of attorney "purportedly bearing the signature" of the reverse mortgage client. Jessup then filed an application in the unidentified victim's name with Wells Fargo bank asking for a line of credit, according to authorities.

    The defendant also gave a document to the bank falsely saying that the woman still lived in her Roosevelt home, but she had been in a nursing home since 2008, prosecutors said.

    Jessup then stole more than $47,000 from a bank credit line and other money from the victim, the district attorney's office said.

    Prosecutors claim Jessup spent the money on herself, her husband at the time, and his business, Legacy Limousines. They also alleged she forged a $3,500 check payable to the business.(1)
Source: Disbarred lawyer accused of stealing client's money is facing more charges, Nassau prosecutors say.

For the Nassau County, New York District Attorney news release, see Disbarred Attorney Arrested for Stealing More than $85,000 from Elderly Disabled Former Client (Janice Jessup was indicted in April for separate case in which she allegedly stole $1.2 million from another disabled client).

(1) Clients found to have been victimized by a theft by a New York attorney may be able to seek some reimbursement for being screwed over by turning to the The Lawyers’ Fund For Client Protection Of the State of New York, which manages and distribute money collected from annual dues paid by members of the state bar to members of the public who have sustained a financial loss caused by the dishonest conduct of a member of the bar acting as an attorney or a fiduciary.

See generally:
  • N.Y. fund for cheated clients wants thieving lawyers disbarred, a July, 2015 Associated Press story on this Fund reporting that the Fund's executive director, among other things, is calling for prompt referral to the local district attorney when the disciplinary committee has uncontested evidence of theft by a lawyer injuring a client or an admission of culpability;

    When Lawyers Steal the Escrow, a June, 2005 New York Times story describing some cases of client reimbursements ("With real estate business surging and down-payment amounts rising with home prices, the temptation for a lawyer to filch money from a bulging escrow account and later repay it with other clients' money has never been greater, said lawyers who monitor the thefts."),

    Thieving Lawyers Draining Client Security Funds, a December, 1991 New York Times story that gives some-real life examples of how client security funds deal with claims and the pressures the administrators of those funds may feel when left insufficiently financed as a result of the misconduct of a handful of lawyer/scoundrels.
For similar "attorney ripoff reimbursement funds" that attempt to clean up the financial mess created by the dishonest conduct of lawyers licensed in other states and Canada, see:
Maps available courtesy of The National Client Protection Organization, Inc.

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