David Frankel, 50, allegedly stole real estate proceeds to fund his own investments
MINEOLA, N.Y. – Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced today that a West Hempstead attorney was arrested this morning for stealing more than $5.7 million from clients between September 2012 and February 2014.
David Frankel, 50, surrendered this morning to NCDA Detective Investigators and was arraigned before District Court Judge Darlene Harris.
He was charged with one count of Grand Larceny in the 1st Degree (a B felony) and six counts of Grand Larceny in the 2nd Degree (a C felony). Frankel faces a maximum of 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison if convicted on the top count and bail was set at $300,000 cash or bond. He is due back in court on October 21.
“This attorney was trusted with more than $5.7 million and he allegedly betrayed that trust by using the money to fund his own investments,” Acting DA Singas said. “Lawyers are duty bound to represent their clients in an ethical manner and I encourage anyone who thinks that they have been defrauded by an attorney to contact our office.”
Acting DA Singas said that Frankel represented seven realty companies between June 13 and September 12, 2012, with overlapping ownership in eight Brooklyn properties. The properties were refinanced and $5,769,281.17 was placed in escrow into an Interest on Lawyer Account, commonly known as an IOLA account. The companies were held by relatives and the principals were deciding how to distribute the funds.
Several days after the money was deposited into the account, Frankel began drawing on it and using the money to fund his own unsuccessful investments and to make payments in unrelated real estate transactions. The account, in which other unrelated money was periodically deposited, was drawn down to a balance of $836.81 by February 28, 2014. Frankel was not authorized to use the funds for any purposes other than distributing them as instructed by the principals of the companies.
The NCDA was alerted to the allegations and an investigation was opened on December 29.
Assistant District Attorney Peter Mancuso of Acting DA Singas’ Government and Consumer Frauds Bureau is prosecuting the case. Frankel is represented by Avraham Moskowitz, Esq.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.