Sunday, May 14, 2017

Long Island Lawyer Faces Charges Of Stealing $500K+ From Estate Of One Client, $80K In Escrow Funds Held On Behalf Of Another Client

In East Hampton, New York, the East Hampton Star reports:
  • An East Hampton attorney who was barred from the practice of law in August for “mental incompetence” has been charged with stealing over $500,000 from the estate of a North Fork woman, and with several more crimes including theft from another lawyer.

    Kyle Thomas Lynch, 42, turned himself in [] at the district attorney’s office in Riverside to face charges of second-degree felony grand larceny.
    According to the D.A.’s economic crimes bureau, which has been investigating the matter in cooperation with village police for a year and a half, Mr. Lynch took money from the estate of Helen Chalmers, who died in the fall of 2013, and deposited it into the business account of his law firm, Bainton Lynch, specialists in real estate.
    Village police charge that Mr. Lynch did not limit his alleged thievery to the dead woman’s estate.

    Another victim was another lawyer, Carl Irace, who was an associate in the Bainton Lynch firm. The police indicated [] that Mr. Lynch had drained most of the firm’s equity funds. Bainton Lynch was on Much­more Lane, in village jurisdiction.

    Mr. Irace contacted police after he noticed a discrepancy on two of his credit card statements. “He came in and made a complaint to us,” Detective Steve Sheades said yesterday. Mr. Lynch allegedly took out two credit cards in Mr. Irace’s name, running up charges of over $50,000, the detective said.

    Another victim was said to have been a client of the firm, Thomas Rudegeair. His case involved money held in escrow; police say, among other things, that $80,000 of that money was diverted to the firm.

    The charges include second-degree felony grand larceny, identity theft, illegal possession of another person’s identity information, and grand larceny third degree.
Source: East Hampton Lawyer Stole $500,000, D.A. Charges (Some money went to church, schools, hospital).
(1) In New York, The Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection was created to provide a source of, at least partial, reimbursement to clients who have suffered monetary losses at the hands of dishonest lawyers licensed and practicing in the state.

According to their website, typical losses reimbursed by the Lawyers' Fund include the theft of estate and trust assets, escrow deposits in real property transactions, settlements in personal injury litigation, debt collection receipts, money embezzled in investment transactions with law clients, and unearned fees paid in advance to lawyers who falsely promise their legal services.

Perhaps the best of all the attorney ripoff reimbursement funds in the U.S. in terms of its payout limits, the Fund places a $400,000 maximum limit, per law client loss, on awards from the Fund, fixed by regulation of the Fund's Trustees. There is no aggregate maximum on awards involving one lawyer.

For similar "attorney ripoff reimbursement funds" that sometimes help cover 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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