FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 13, 2018
Brooklyn Lawyer Indicted for Allegedly Stealing Over $650,000
From Retired Couple After Representing Them in Real Estate Deal
The Defendant Allegedly Deposited Funds into His Escrow Account,
Didn’t Turn Over All of the Proceeds to Which the Sellers Were Entitled
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 50-year-old East Flatbush man has been indicted on a grand larceny charge for allegedly withholding proceeds from the $1.7 million sale of a Bedford-Stuyvesant building owned by a retired couple.
District Attorney Gonzalez said “This defendant was trusted with funds that he was obligated to give to his clients. Instead, he allegedly betrayed that trust and kept $650,000 of his retired clients’ money. We will now seek to hold him accountable for this alleged theft.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Gerald Douglas, 50, of East Flatbush, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which he is charged with second-degree grand larceny. He was ordered held on bail of $100,000 bond or $50,000 cash and to return to court on February 6, 2019. The defendant faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between August 2016 and March 2017, the defendant represented a couple in the sale of their nine-unit building at 11A Spencer Place in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. The defendant provided legal services through the law firm Douglas & Associates P.C, located at 4517 Avenue D, in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.
It is alleged that the defendant represented the victims, a married couple ages 70 and 71 years old, at the closing of the sale of their property on September 12, 2016, at which time he received checks totaling nearly $1.5 million, which, less the down payment, represented the balance owed. It is alleged that the defendant kept the funds, depositing them into his escrow account. He was also in possession of a down payment of $170,000 that he received in August 2016.
At the end of October 2016, the defendant sent the victims a check for $200,000 and a week later wired them $600,000. In March 2017, he gave them another check for $100,000.
Finally, it is alleged, that despite repeated and urgent requests from the victims, the defendant failed to turn over the balance of the funds, less his legal fee and a broker’s fee, which was approximately $650,000.
Anyone who believes they were victimized by this defendant should call the District Attorney’s Office at 718-250-2600.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Adam Libove of the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit, with the assistance of Financial Investigator Marina Kuchmar, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michael Spakanos, Unit Chief, and Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division, under the overall supervision of Mark Feldman, Senior Executive Assistant for Crime Strategies and Investigations.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt