District Attorney

Posted on: September 9, 2016

Disbarred Attorney Arrested For Stealing More than $400,000 from Estate Funds

Robert A Wagner

Robert Wagner faces up to five to 15 years in prison

MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a disbarred attorney was arrested yesterday for allegedly stealing more than $400,000.00 from an estate he represented.

Robert Alan Wagner, 63, of Bellmore, was arraigned yesterday before District Court Judge William Hohauser and is charged with grand larceny in the second degree (a C felony). Bail was set at $200,000 bond or cash and the defendant is due back in court on September 12. Wagner, who was also ordered to surrender his passport, faces up to five to 15 years in prison if convicted.

“This defendant is charged with stealing more than $400,000 in estate funds that he held for a client, and using that money for his own personal purposes,” DA Singas said. “Attorneys hold a special position of trust with their clients, and stealing from those grieving from the loss of a loved one is especially despicable.”

DA Singas said that Wagner was retained by the executrix of an estate to represent her in February 2013. In December 2013, the deceased woman’s property was sold for approximately $450,000.00. After the appropriate deductions and expenses, the approximate balance of $407,000.00 was to be deposited in the defendant’s escrow account and to be used for estate related matters, including distribution to the beneficiaries of the estate.

Although the money was deposited in December 2013, at one point in February 2014 the balance in the account had been depleted to $300.00. In addition, none of the proceeds from the sale of the home had been distributed to the beneficiaries of the estate.

Between July 2014 and March 2015, the defendant allegedly misappropriated or used other funds to pay the beneficiaries. One beneficiary, however, who was entitled to $100,000.00, still had not received any money by May 2015. The defendant allegedly provided the beneficiary with multiple excuses and no payment was forthcoming. Wagner allegedly used the money to pay for personal expenses and to carry on his law practice.

The executrix of the estate and the beneficiary filed a complaint with the NCDA in July 2015.

Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Contreras of DA Singas’ Government & Consumer Frauds Bureau is prosecuting the case. Wagner is represented by Joel R. Weiss, Esq.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.

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