Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini has announced the indictment of an attorney and his client for allegedly selling a property belonging to the client’s relatives and stealing $395,000 from the sale of the house.
Jerome Binder, 38, of Patchogue, is charged with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C Felony; six counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E Felony; and Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony. Binder is a licensed attorney.
James Regateiro, 49, of Dix Hills, is charged with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C Felony; six counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E Felony; and Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony.
“These individuals did not have the right to sell the property in the first place, let alone squander all of the proceeds from the sale on their own personal expenses,” District Attorney Sini said. “What is particularly egregious is that Mr. Binder allegedly used his position as an attorney to facilitate this scheme and steal his cut of the money from the property’s rightful owners. These kinds of crimes can have devastating impacts on victims’ finances, and we are committed to investigating them thoroughly. I thank the prosecutors and investigators for their hard work on this case.”
An investigation conducted by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office’s Financial Investigations & Money Laundering Bureau revealed evidence that Binder and Regateiro had represented to multiple parties that they had permission and authority to sell a residential property located at 8 Goldfinch Lane in Huntington, which in fact belonged in a trust created by one Regateiro’s relatives. The trust did not name Regateiro as a trustee and contained provisions stating that no bequests would be made to Regateiro.
At the closing for the sale of the property, which occurred on July 12, 2017, Binder and Regateiro allegedly filed several falsified documents, including a forged trust document with Regateiro named as the trustee, with the Suffolk County Clerk’s Office and the title company.
Binder and Regateiro obtained a $395,000 cashier’s check for the sale of the property and deposited the funds into Binder’s Interest on Lawyer Account (“IOLA”). The defendants then allegedly used the funds for numerous expenditures between July 12, 2017, and Sept. 13, 2017, including payments to credit card companies, mortgage payments, car payments and payments to accounts associated with businesses owned by Binder or Regateiro, as well as large cash withdrawals.
Binder was arraigned on the indictment today in front of Suffolk County Court Judge Anthony Senft and was released on his own recognizance. He is being represented by William Wexler and is due back in court on Sept. 21. Regateiro was arraigned on the indictment on Aug. 13 and was released on his own recognizance. He is being represented by David Besso and is due back in court on Sept. 21.
If convicted of the top count, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of five to 15 years in prison.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Michelle Kaszuba, of the Financial Investigations & Money Laundering Bureau.
A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.