Welcome to The Home Equity Theft Reporter, a blog dedicated to informing the consumer public and the legal profession about Home Equity Theft issues. This blog will consist of information describing the various forms of Home Equity Theft and links to news reports & other informational sources from throughout the country about the victims of Home Equity Theft and what government authorities and others are doing about it.
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Now-Disbarred Long Island Lawyer Cops Guilty Plea To Screwing Over Brooklyn Landlords By Pilfering Over $5.7 Million In Mortgage Refinancing Proceeds Out Of Escrow Account; Loan Was Secured By Eight Properties
From the Office of the Nassau County, New York District Attorney:
Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a West Hempstead attorney who stole more than $5.7 million from clients between September 2012 and February 2014 pleaded guilty  to grand larceny charges.
David Frankel, 52, pleaded guilty [...] to Grand Larceny in the 1st Degree (a B felony). The defendant is due back in court on March 1 for sentencing. The NCDA is recommending that the defendant be sentenced to five to 15 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution.
“In less than a year and a half, this defendant pilfered more than $5 million from his clients and egregiously used that money to fund his unsuccessful investments,” DA Singas said. “David Frankel was supposed to represent the best interests of his clients, but instead he defrauded them.”
DA Singas said that Frankel represented seven realty companies between June 13, 2012. and September 12, 2012, with overlapping ownership in eight Brooklyn properties. The properties were refinanced and $5,769,281.17 was placed in escrow into an Interest on Lawyer Account, commonly known as an IOLA account. The companies were held by relatives and the principals were deciding how to distribute the funds.
Several days after the money was deposited into the account, Frankel began drawing on it and using the money to fund his own unsuccessful investments and to make payments in unrelated real estate transactions. The account, in which other unrelated money was periodically deposited, was drawn down to a balance of $836.81 by February 28, 2014. Frankel was not authorized to use the funds for any purposes other than distributing them as instructed by the principals of the companies.
The NCDA was alerted to the allegations and an investigation was opened in December 2015. The defendant was disbarred in October 2015.
CBC News: Betrayal of Trust (A CBC investigation reveals how lawyers across Canada have misappropriated and mishandled clients money, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, or sometimes even charging vulnerable people top dollar for shoddy services)
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