A real estate lawyer who fled to Hong Kong while under investigation for embezzlement by the Manhattan district attorney’s office has agreed to return to New York, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The Crowell & Moring attorney, Douglas Arntsen, was working on the Lam Group’s acquisition of four buildings from Regal Real Estate and had taken control of an escrow account on behalf of Regal. Lam had filled the account with a deposit for its $49 million acquisition of 21 Maiden Lane, 105 Chambers Street, 112 Fulton Street and 3 East 17th Street.
In September, Arntsen resigned from the firm and notified Regal, which is controlled by developer Maurice Laboz. Upon talking to him about the escrow account, Regal executives found that Arntsen had deposited the money in a personal account. The firm became concerned and immediately withdrew $1.8 million.
Arntsen said the rest of the money was in Hong Kong and allegedly fled to the country to recoup the money. That’s when Regal notified police. The firm has filed suit alleging that some $5.5 million is still missing. Arntsen has now agreed to be extradited to the U.S. [WSJ]