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Disbarred attorney Mitchell Kossoff sentenced to 13.5 years for defrauding clients – Trade Observer

Disbarred lawyer Mitchell Kossoff – who represented many multi-family owners in New York – was sentenced to up to 13.5 years behind bars after he pleaded guilty to defrauding his clients over $14.6 million.

A judge sentenced Kossoff, 68, to between 4.5 and 13.5 years in prison Friday morning for three counts of grand larceny and one count of scheme to defraud after he used funds stolen from his clients’ escrow accounts to finance his life, according to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. In addition to his prison sentence, Kossoff will have to repay the $14.6 million and give away a condominium in Highlands, NJ, Bragg said.

“When clients hire an attorney to represent them, they expect their attorney to uphold the highest ethical standards,” Bragg said in a statement. “Yet Mitchell Kossoff violated the fundamental trust of his clients by taking millions for himself. His actions betray the standards that we as lawyers have learned from the very beginning of our careers and will not be tolerated.

A spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney and Kossoff’s attorney, Walter Macdid not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Known for his tough-guy approach and spin classes on the sideKossoff represented many of the city’s multifamily owners, including Property Management Icon, Stellar Management and Steve Croman, who himself pleaded guilty to tax evasion in 2017.

But, starting in 2017, Kossoff began moving funds from at least 35 of his clients’ escrow accounts to his own to pay more than $19,000 a month in rent on a luxury building and $16,000 in bills. personal credit card, according to his plea. deal. Kossoff also used the money to reimburse other customers he robbed, the prosecutor said.

He stole over a million dollars single-handedly land of united america affiliate 118which has the five floors 118-120 Duane Streetcourt records show.

Kossoff’s crimes caught up with him in April 2021 after he committed a disappearing act in ghost of his colleagues in his eponymous law firm and his clients for days. It has been hit with a series of lawsuits from landlords trying to recover their stranded funds.

He eventually resurfaces and surrendered to authorities in November 2021. Kossoff pleaded guilty to stealing from dozens of his clients in December 2021.

In addition to erasing escrow accounts, Kossoff also allegedly forged his own mother’s signature on more than $2 million in defaulted loansaccording to court records.

Nicholas Rizzi can be reached at [email protected].