Sporting a gray turtleneck and a 5 o’clock shadow, Luigi Rosabianca cut a forlorn figure as he entered the courtroom at 111 Centre Street near Chinatown.
Rosabianca, the former high-flying real estate attorney and residential real estate broker, acknowledged friends and family members who had turned out in support, nodding and mouthing “How are you?” and “Thanks for coming,” as proceedings commenced Thursday morning. It was his first court appearance since his October indictment on grand larceny charges related to stealing funds from real estate buyers. He is still being held in jail on a $4.5 million fully secured bond.
After deliberating with both prosecutors and Rosabianca’s defense attorneys, Justice Maxwell Wiley stated the case could be due a “possible disposition,” or final determination, at Rosabianca’s next court appearance on Feb. 19.
As the appearance wrapped up, Rosabianca turned to his family and mouthed, “I love you,” and “Thank you,” before being taken away to his holding cell in handcuffs.
A highly visible attorney who prided himself as a “real estate expert” and specialized in catering to high-end foreign buyers, Rosabianca ran his own law firm, Rosabianca & Associates, and helmed the New York office of Venice, Italy-based boutique residential brokerage WIRE International Realty.
But he was suspended from practicing law last March after the New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division found evidence that he had mishandled client escrow funds on deals he had helped broker. That suspension eventually became a complete disbarment in July, when the court found Rosabianca continued to represent clients and accept payments following his suspension.
In October, Rosabianca was arrested and indicted on six counts of grand larceny – including one first-degree charge and five second-degree charges – for allegedly stealing more than $4.4 million in deal proceeds from six different clients.
He is currently being held at Otis Bantum Correctional Center in East Elmhurst, Queens, on a $4.5 million cash or fully secured bond that would require Rosabianca putting up the complete amount in assets before he could be released.
Rosabianca’s attorneys did not respond to requests for comment. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office declined to comment.