Mineola, NY - Nov. 14, 2013 - Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced today that a former attorney from Oceanside has pleaded guilty to stealing $10,000 from a couple he was representing in the purchase of a new home.
Nathan Levner, 54, was arrested in May by DA Investigators and charged with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a D felony. He pleaded guilty to the charge today, after reimbursing the Lawyers Fund for Client Protection of New York State in July for the full restitution that the Fund paid to his victims. Levner, who was disbarred in December 2012, is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 15, 2014.
“Real estate attorneys are trusted with our finances and have access to very sensitive personal information, so it’s especially disturbing when one is found to be stealing from his clients,” DA Rice said. “My office is committed to rooting out white collar criminals who use their positions of trust and authority to swindle innocent people, and I encourage anyone who thinks they may have been the victim of a crime to contact my office immediately.”
DA Rice said that in July 2011, a couple hired Levner, an attorney, to represent them in the sale of their former residence and the purchase of a new home. At the closing of the sale of their former residence on July 15, 2011, the purchasers deposited $10,000 into Levner’s account. This money was to be held in escrow until the victims vacated their former home. Once this was done, the $10,000 would be released to the victims.
After the closing on the sale of the victims’ former home and prior to the closing of the purchase of their new home, however, Levner failed to return any of the victims’ phone calls. The victims vacated their former home on August 1, 2011, and were forced to hire a new attorney at the closing of the new home they were purchasing.
On September 9, 2011, the new attorney sent Levner a demand letter requesting the money be given to the victim, but Levner never responded nor returned the money. Levner was suspended from practicing law on June 1, 2012 after admitting that he had used the money to make a personal investment. On December 12, 2012, Levner was disbarred from practicing law.
Assistant District Attorney Edward Bradley of the Government & Consumer Frauds Bureau is prosecuting the case for the DA’s Office.