Old Westbury, NY - January 24th, 2014 - Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced that a disbarred attorney has been sentenced today for stealing more than $4 million from several individuals and banks in a series of fraudulent real estate deals that fattened his wallet at the expense of his clients – including his own wife.
James Kalpakis, 53, pleaded guilty in September 2013 to Grand Larceny in the First Degree (a B felony) and Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (a C felony). Nassau County Court Judge Philip Grella sentenced Kalpakis today to 3-1/3 to 10 years in prison, with restitution of $4,362,279.83.
“Clients should be confident that their attorneys are representing their best interests, and not betraying their trust for their own financial gain,” DA Rice said. “My office will continue to prosecute attorneys who betray their clients’ trust while reaping millions of dollars by flouting the laws they swore to follow.”
DA 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 over $4 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 2009 and December 2009. Kalpakis stole an additional $290,000 from the victim between February 2009 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 2009 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 2010 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 2010 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.
Assistant District Attorney Peter J. Mancuso of DA Rice’s Government & Consumer Frauds Bureau is prosecuting the case. Kalpakis is represented by James Toner, Esq.