Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Attorney Pinched Again For Alleged Role In Another Dubious Real Estate Deal; Accused Of Pocketing Homebuyer's $75K Escrow Deposit From Trust Account

On Staten Island, New York, the Staten Island Advance reports:

  • A real estate lawyer already facing prosecution in a Brooklyn mortgage fraud scheme now stands accused of stealing a $75,000 down payment from a Staten Island woman who was selling her house.

  • Prosecutors say Jarrett Haber, 45, of Hicksville, had already been indicted in Brooklyn -- alongside a disgraced rabbi who would later be accused of arranging two murders -- when he helped himself to the money in 2010. Haber was representing a friend of his who was selling her Bentley Street home for $475,000, and the buyer had placed $75,000 in an escrow account as a down payment, prosecutors allege.

  • On July 29, 2010, the date of the closing, the money wasn't there, authorities allege. Haber told investigators the money was stolen from him, a law enforcement source said. Nevertheless, the source said, "The money came out of the account that he was in control over."

  • A grand jury returned an indictment against Haber last month, charging him with second-degree grand larceny and second-degree criminal possession of stolen property.(1)


  • Haber had been arrested back in Feb. 2010, accused of running a mortgage fraud scheme alongside Rabbi Victor Koltun of Brooklyn. That case is still pending.(2) [...] The two are accused of taking out a $225,000 mortgage on the home of a Brooklyn woman who was living in a nursing home. She got a call in October 2009 demanding payment on the mortgage, prosecutors said, which came as a surprise because she and her husband had owned the home since 1975, and hadn't had a mortgage on it since 1987.

  • Investigators found out that Haber and Koltun fraudulently used several properties to secure a $225,000 mortgage, which they used to pay down a debt from another real estate scam in Long Island.

For the story, see Real estate lawyer charged in 2010 fraud scheme now accused of stealing $75,000 from Staten Island woman.

(1) To the extent Haber is found guilty or otherwise responsible for the 'disappearance' of the homebuyer's $75,000 deposit, the victim may have some recourse if Haber fails to cough up and return the missing cash that a court may order he (Haber) pay in the form of restitution.

The Lawyers’ Fund For Client Protection Of the State of New York exists to protect legal consumers from dishonest conduct in the practice of law in the state, to preserve the integrity of the bar, to safeguard the good name of lawyers for their honesty in handling client money, and to promote public confidence in the administration of justice in the Empire State. It attempts to secure these goals by, among other things, reimbursing client money that is misused in the practice of law.

For similar "attorney ripoff reimbursement funds" that 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.

(2) See New York Daily News: 3 lawyers and correction officer among 12 charged with real estate fraud.

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