It has not been a good year for New York City real estate attorneys. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office announced the indictment of Claudine King this week on grand larceny charges, with the former lawyer accused of stealing more than $500,000 from former clients.
The 38-year-old King, who ran a Midtown-based real estate law practice, allegedly stole more than half a million dollars from three former clients and from a potential buyer involved in the sale of one of her clients’ properties, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a statement.
Each of King’s alleged crimes “followed a similar pattern,” according to the DA’s office — with the attorney receiving money that she was supposed to hold in escrow on a client’s behalf and, rather than holding the cash, spending it on either business and personal expenses or to repay clients she had previous stolen from.
It is a pattern of alleged criminal behavior strikingly similar to that of former real estate attorney Luigi Rosabianca, who is facing six counts of grand larceny after being indicted by the DA’s office in October. While Rosabianca was disbarred in July, and is currently in jail awaiting a court date next month, King resigned from the New York State Bar Association in March 2014.
Also unlike Rosabianca — who is facing one count of first-degree grand larceny in addition to five counts of second-degree grand larceny for allegedly stealing more than $4.4 million from clients – the charges against King are somewhat less serious, with the former attorney facing three counts of second-degree grand larceny and two counts of third-degree grand larceny. – Rey Mashayekhi