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Sunset Park lawyer sentenced for stealing client funds

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A 71-year-old Sunset Park lawyer was sentenced to one to three years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to stealing $280,000 in down payments from clients in two separate real estate transactions. 

“Today’s sentence holds this defendant accountable for the serious breach of trust and financial hardship he caused his victims,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. “Let this serve as a reminder that I am committed to protecting Brooklyn’s residents from attorneys and other unscrupulous fraudsters who abuse their positions of authority to take advantage of those they are entrusted to advise and represent.”

Edmundo Roman-Perez pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny on Dec. 15, 2020 after being indicted earlier that year, at which time he faced up to 15 years for four counts of grand larceny and five counts of issuing bad checks in February. 

An investigation by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office found the real estate lawyer stole $135,000 from clients he represented in the sale of their two-family home in Sunset Park in late 2018 — using the buyer’s down payment for his personal gain instead of putting the deposit in his attorney escrow account until the closing date as agreed upon. 

Prosecutors said Roman-Perez later issued a bounced check to clients in the amount of the down payment when the house closed in March 2019 and never paid his clients back the money owed. 

Roman-Perez also represented three brothers in the sale of their two-family home in Dyker Heights around the same period of time and similarly took the buyer’s down payment of $150,000 for himself. He again issued a bounced check in an attempt to cover the loss.

On top of his charges in Brooklyn, Roman-Perez also pleaded guilty in November 2020 to one count of third-degree grand larceny in neighboring Staten Island for stealing client funds. Prosecutors say that for that charge, he will serve one to three year’s imprisonment concurrently with his Brooklyn sentence.

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