Friday, February 16, 2007

Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Clients of $22 Million

New York attorney Anthony Bellettieri entered a guilty plea to mail and bank fraud charges for defrauding clients of his real estate law firm located in White Plains.  According to a press release (here) issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, Bellettieri took the money from his firm's bank account and then engaged in an elaborate check-kiting scheme to hide the fraud.  He used "the stolen money, in part, to purchase real estate interests in commercial and vacation destinations, make home improvements (including the construction of a kitchen extension and a pool), pay credit card debts for himself and others, fund [law firm] salaries that the business . . . could not sustain from its earnings, pay for a family wedding, and purchase and lease automobiles for himself and others."  Bellettieri also pleaded guilty to defrauding a client by stealing $2 million and providing false mortgage documents to show the funds were secured.  As part of the guilty plea, he was ordered to pay $22 million in restitution, although it is often the case that the victims will receive only a small portion of their losses because much of the money will never be recovered.  (ph)

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Fraud, Prosecutions | Permalink

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