Friday, March 25, 2016

NYC Lawyer Cops Plea To Fleecing Dead Client's Estate Out Of Over $500K; Effectively 'Buys Out' Of Major Prison Time - Judge Indicates 90-Day Jail Sentence Forthcoming For Defendant Who Completed Return Of Stolen Loot, Plus Interest, Through Multiple Partial Payments Throughout 2015

From the Office of the Queens County, New York District Attorney:
  • Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, [] announced that a Brooklyn lawyer pleaded guilty [] to grand larceny for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the estate of a deceased Queens man between August 2008 and July 2013.

    District Attorney Brown said, “The defendant has pleaded guilty to having breached her fiduciary duties and violated the trust of the victim - the very person who retained her to help handle the estate of his deceased loved one. But instead of working on behalf of her client, the defendant stole from the estate to enrich herself. Under the terms of the defendant’s plea agreement, she has made full restitution, making the heirs of the estate whole again. In April, the defendant will be sentenced to jail time for her actions.”

    The District Attorney identified the defendant as Debra Ann Purcell-Regis, 56, of Syosset, Long Island. Purcell-Regis pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of second-degree grand larceny before Queens Supreme Court Justice Dorothy Chin-Brandt, who indicated she will sentence the defendant to 90 days in jail on April 26, 2016. Purcell-Regis was suspended from practicing law as of February 4, 2015.

    District AttorneyBrown said that, according to the criminal complaint, in 2008 Purcell-Regis was retained to oversee the estate of Joseph Filiano by the deceased man’s half brother, Thomas Massaro. A forensic analysis of the estate’s financial records revealed that the defendant removed more than $500,000 from the deceased man’s bank account and re-deposited the funds into two separate accounts held at Washington Mutual and Chase banks, both of which were in the defendant’s name. Over the span of five years, the defendant made numerous cash withdrawals and endorsed payments to others unrelated to the Filiano estate totaling $495,000.

    District Attorney Brown said, according to the charges, the defendant used funds from the Filiano estate for her own personal gain - including making tuition payments to a private Quaker school in Long Island.

    Throughout 2015, starting in January with a $200,000 payment, the defendant has been returning the funds stolen to the Filiano estate. Purcell-Regis’ last payment, marking full restitution in addition to interest, was in November 2015.
Source: Brooklyn Lawyer Pleads Guilty To Bilking Client Out Of More Than $500,000 (Makes Full Restitution; Faces Jail Time At Sentencing).

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