FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 8, 2021
Former Brooklyn Lawyer Indicted for Allegedly Stealing $85,000
From Client Who He Represented in Real Estate Deal
The Defendant Allegedly Deposited Down Payment for Property into His Escrow Account,
And Kept It; Stopped Returning Client’s Calls
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that an East Flatbush man has been indicted on a grand larceny charge for allegedly stealing the down payment toward the purchase of a Brownsville home whose seller he represented. The defendant also allegedly separately borrowed $14,000 from the client and never paid it back.
District Attorney Gonzalez said “The victim in this case was allegedly defrauded of a large sum of money by her own attorney, who had a legal duty to protect her interests. I would like to thank my Public Integrity Bureau for its hard work in seeking to hold the defendant accountable for his alleged criminal act and betrayal of trust.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Gerald Douglas, 52, of East Flatbush, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Sharen Hudson on an indictment in which he is charged with second-degree grand larceny. He was released without bail and ordered to return to court on May 12, 2021.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, the defendant represented a 76-year-old woman in the sale of her Brownsville house, negotiating the contract for her in September 2018. A down payment of $71,700 was allegedly deposited into the defendant’s escrow account. The closing occurred in August 2019, by which time the defendant had allegedly stopped returning his client’s phone calls and she was forced to retain new counsel to close the transaction. The client received the sale proceeds at the closing, but not the down payment despite repeated requests to the defendant.
It is further alleged that in June and July 2018, the defendant asked the same client if she would loan him money, first $6,000 and then $8,000. He allegedly told her he was expecting a rental payment for a property he owned in Flatbush, Brooklyn, though in fact the property had gone into foreclosure five years earlier and he was no longer the owner.
The defendant was disbarred by the Appellate Division Second Department in 2019.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Adam Libove of the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Laura Neubauer, Bureau Chief, and Assistant District Attorney Michel Spanakos, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Chief of the Investigations Division.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt