Recently we’ve had a spate of New York grand larceny cases/fraud cases involving defendants who have been accused of stealing money in the course of their business dealings. Each case had its own difficult issues: one had horrible press coverage and an entire community pressuring the District Attorney for a heavy jail sentence; one involved a car dealer who, according to the prosecutor, had committed the same fraud previously; and lastly, a financial adviser was accused of stealing from an elderly client. Each case ended with the same result: none of our clients spent a day in jail and one wasn’t even criminally charged. Whether your case is in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Westchester, Rockland County, Long Island or even Connecticut – the strategies employed to achieve these great results work universally. Hiring a top New York criminal defense attorney can mean the difference between jail time and a minor inconvenience in your life.
Alleged Theft of Nearly 300K from Elderly Financial Services Client
In the first case, a financial adviser had good reason to believe he was being investigated by both law enforcement and his financial firm for taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from an elderly client previously deemed incompetent to handle her own affairs. Immediately we decided to jump out in front of the problem and contacted the local District Attorney, offering to put the money back into the client’s account to show good faith – and to hopefully avoid a jail sentence. Since financial exploitation of an elderly person can be charged as a hate crime, a conviction for stealing such a significant sum of money from an elderly person would result in a felony, Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (NYPL § 155.40) sentence with a minimum 1-3 years in jail due to the fact that hate crimes are punished one category higher than the specified offense the defendant committed: the Second Degree Grand Larceny C felony thus would become a B felony in the eyes of the sentencing judge.
One problem with our strategy: the District Attorney’s Office had no record of any such investigation of our client – and claimed they wouldn’t start one unless notified by a complainant! Our decision turned out to be the correct one, however, as the elderly woman’s court-appointed guardian found money missing from her account, contacted that very District Attorney’s Office about the theft and, because we had reported it over a year earlier – and assisted both the guardian and prosecutor in understanding the woman’s complicated financial records – the prosecutor agreed to accept the missing money and bring no charges against our client.
Car Dealer: Repeated Fraud on Customers
A car dealer client was recently charged with Grand Larceny for taking over $85,000 from a customer and not delivering a car. According to the prosecutor, our client – who had a criminal record – was being investigated for committing similar scams in which victims were alleged to have paid for cars which were never produced. This case posed a significant problem: why should the prosecutor cut us any kind of break when the defendant was a recidivist? A generous plea deal might not provide deterrence necessary to stop the defendant from committing such a fraud again. Nevertheless, when the prosecutor learned our client was willing to pay back all the money owed he agreed not only to a lesser, misdemeanor plea in the case, but a conditional discharge – no probation instead of the two or three years required by law. No checking in with a probation officer weekly, no restrictions on travel, no drug testing, nothing – fantastic result.
Travel Agent Took Nearly $1 Million from Clients Who Never Received Tickets
Finally, in a case I have blogged about before, a travel agent we represented was accused of stealing nearly $1 million from her customers by taking money for trips to Asia and not providing tickets. This emotionally-charged case included victims routinely packing the courtroom during our client’s appearances calling for her head; nevertheless, we convinced the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to let our client plead to a lesser charge with a sentence of probation – and agree to pay back about half what was alleged to have been stolen. Again, the rarity of victims being made whole – or even partly whole – can allow for very favorable plea bargains for defendants in seemingly difficult circumstances if the cases are handled correctly.
Contact a New York Fraud Attorney Today
At the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman we have handled hundreds of state and federal fraud cases to great success including acquittals in federal and state courtrooms across the country. Experienced criminal lawyers including a former prosecutor will help you out of even the most difficult circumstances in your fraud case and we are always expecting a no-jail disposition either via trial or plea bargain. Call us at (212) 581-1001 to discuss your case today.