Mineola, NY - November 18, 2015 - Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that an attorney from Whitestone, Queens, was arrested this morning at his home by DA Investigators for stealing more than $470,000 by purloining a down payment from a couple selling their home and by fraudulently taking out a loan by falsely representing himself as a part owner of a corporation owned by his former mother-in-law.
Daniel Spitalnic, 38, an attorney admitted to the bar in 2003 with an office in Great Neck, was arraigned before District Court Judge Joseph Girardi on two separate cases. Altogether, Spitalnic is charged with three counts of Grand Larceny in the 2nd Degree (a C felony), one count of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the 2nd Degree (a D felony) and one count of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the 1st Degree (an E felony). If convicted on the top count, he faces up to 5 to 15 years in prison. Bail for the two cases was set at $30,000 bond or cash and the defendant is due back in court on Nov. 20.
“This attorney allegedly enriched himself at the expense of his clients and mortgaged a property that belonged to his former mother-in-law’s corporation,” Acting DA Singas said. “Stealing is wrong, but for an attorney to allegedly defraud a former family member and client is particularly troubling.”
Acting DA Singas said that Spitalnic applied for and obtained a $300,000 loan in March of this year by falsely representing himself as the part owner and officer of a corporation solely owned by his former mother-in-law. The loan was secured by a mortgage on a commercial property in Great Neck, and the defendant allegedly used the money on personal items such as rent, travel, entertainment, food and other miscellaneous expenses.
Spitalnic’s former mother-in-law became aware of suspicious activity in May when she went to pay real estate taxes and learned that the taxes were already paid by a title company. She confronted the defendant, who said he took out the mortgage because he owed money and told her that she would be paid back. Spitalnic then gave the woman a Satisfaction of Mortgage document that claimed that the loan had been satisfied. The document, however, which was filed with the Nassau County Clerk’s Office in May, was a forgery.
In the second case, the defendant represented a family that was selling a home in Manhasset. A purchaser paid a down payment by check in June in the amount of $171,500, which was to be held in escrow by Spitalnic pending the closing. The closing on the property was held on Sept. 8 but the escrow money – minus $7,460 due to a title insurance company – was never received by the sellers. The check issued by Spitalnic to the title insurance company in the amount of $7,460 did not clear due to insufficient funds in the escrow account.
Both cases were referred to the NCDA through the office’s Complaint Unit, which can be reached 24-hours a day, 7-days a week at 516-571-7755.
Bureau Chief Marshall Trager of Acting DA Singas’ Government and Consumer Frauds Bureau is prosecuting both cases. Spitalnic is represented by Andrew Stengel, Esq.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.