Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Disbarred Long Island Lawyer Allegedly Used Forged Documents, Bogus POAs To Steal $4M+ From Wife, Clients, Others In Real Estate Deals

From the Office of the Nassau County, New York District Attorney:

  • Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced [] that a disbarred attorney has been indicted on multiple felonies for stealing more than $4 million from multiple individuals and banks he was representing in real estate deals, including his own wife.

    James Kalpakis, 52, of Old Westbury, was arraigned this morning on a grand jury indictment charging him with two counts of Grand Larceny in the First Degree, five counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, four counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, 10 counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree and two counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree.
  • Rice said that Kalpakis, an attorney who was suspended from the practice of law in 2005 and disbarred upon his resignation in September 2009, stole approximately $4.315 million from five clients he represented in real estate deals between September 2008 and January 2011.

    In September 2008, Kalpakis illegally obtained a 30-year, $1.1 million mortgage loan from a bank to refinance a mortgage on a home owned by his wife by submitting a forged power of attorney in her name, giving him authority to sign the mortgage in her absence. He received a check made payable to him in the amount of $402,152 at closing. The balance of the loan was used to pay off the existing mortgage, but Kalpakis stopped making payments on the loan in December 2009. His wife knew nothing about the loan.

    Other fraudulent dealings by Kalpakis include:

    The theft of approximately $1.3 million from a victim to whom Kalpakis sold two homes with forged deeds from banks that were not actually the owners of the properties between October and December 2009. Kalpakis stole an additional $290,000 from the victim between February and April 2009 by never returning the victim’s escrow deposit on a home purchase that fell through.

    The theft of $500,000 from the same victim between June and July 2009 by falsely representing that it would be invested in oil, gas, and mineral leases in Texas involving Kalpakis’s brother.

    The theft of a $750,000 one-year mortgage loan in June 2010 from a private investment firm by representing himself as the attorney for the owners of a residential property, one of whom was the victim of the above listed crimes. Kalpakis provided the lender with a forged power of attorney giving Kalpakis authority to collect the loan.

    The theft of $150,000 between August and September 2010 from a different victim by “selling” him a property owned by the same victim in the above listed crimes. Kalpakis provided the buyer with forged documents that gave Kalpakis authorization to sell the property.

    The theft of $100,000 in escrow deposits from a different victim to purchase a home between October 2008 and April 2009. The sale fell through but Kalpakis never returned the escrow funds.

    The theft of a $45,000 escrow deposit from a victim between January and December 2010 for the purchase of a home. The sale never went through but Kalpakis kept the money.

    The theft of $80,000 from a victim using three separate scams. Between August 2010 and January 2011, he stole $33,000 from the victim from a home purchase that fell through. In October 2010, he stole $35,000 from her by promising that a client he represented in a civil case would sign over the $42,000 settlement that would be received later, netting the victim a $7,000 profit. In fact, there was no lawsuit, no client, and no pending settlement. Kalpakis pulled this scam on the victim again in November 2010, stealing $12,000 and promising a $3,000 profit this time. Again, no lawsuit existed and Kalpakis kept her money.(1)
For the Nassau County DA press release, see Old Westbury Man Charged With Stealing More Than $4.3 Million From Clients He Represented In Real Estate Deals (Kalpakis, a disbarred attorney, forged paperwork to steal millions).

(1) The Lawyers’ Fund For Client Protection Of the State of New York may find itself being asked by the victims to step up and cover at least some of the losses they suffered. The Fund 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.

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