An East Flatbush lawyer was charged with defrauding a Brownsville senior he represented out of $85,000 Thursday, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced.
Gerald Douglas, 52, allegedly pocketed the money from his 76-year-old client whom he was negotiating the sale of her home for in 2018 before he stopped returning her calls, according to Gonzalez.
“The victim in this case was allegedly defrauded of a large sum of money by her own attorney, who had a legal duty to protect her interests,” Kings County’s top prosecutor said in an April 8 statement.
Douglas took a $71,700 down payment from the victim while negotiating the sale of her eastern Brooklyn property, which was allegedly deposited into his escrow account, according to Gonzalez.
He also asked the woman for two loans of $6,000 and $8,000 in July 2018, telling her he was expecting rental income from a property he owned in Flatbush — even though that property had gone into foreclosure five years earlier and was no longer his, the DA said.
After the sale closed in August of 2019, the legal eagle allegedly ghosted her and she had to hire a new attorney to finish he transaction. She got the proceeds from the sale, but never got back her $85,000 from the defendant despite repeated requests.
Douglas now faces up to 15 years behind bars for the second degree felony grand larceny charge, but this is not his first time on the wrong side of the law.
In 2020, he pleaded guilty to stealing some $650,000 from an elderly Bedford-Stuyvesant couple he represented in their home sale between 2016-2017.
He served six months in prison for that charge, which was also a second-degree grand larceny, and agreed to pay over $250,000 in restitution, according to DA spokesman Oren Yaniv.
The state’s Appellate Division disbarred Douglas in 2019 and he was arraigned on his most recent charge Thursday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Sharen Hudson.
He was released without bail and ordered to return to court on May 12.