SCARSDALE, N.Y. – A former Scarsdale attorney was arraigned in district court on Friday after being charged in a four-count indictment for allegedly stealing more than one million dollars from his real estate clients.
On Friday, Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore announced that Michael Lippman, 70, was arraigned on a felony complaint that charged him with two counts of second-degree grand larceny, one count of second-degree criminal tax fraud and one count of scheming to defraud.
According to DiFiore, between Jan. 1 2010 and Tuesday, Sept. 15 of this year, Lippman, a licensed attorney, “engaged in a scheme in which he deliberately defrauded multiple clients of monies entrusted to him for various purposes including the transfer of real estate and estate planning.
Lippman allegedly defrauded his clients out of money intended to pay mortgages, to close on and purchase properties. In total, it is believed that Lippman may have defrauded as many as 13 clients out of nearly $1.5 million. He also stands accused of non-payment of $132,411 in state taxes.
The investigation has been carried out in recent weeks by officials in the District Attorney’s office, with an assist from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.
DiFiore said that Lippman actively took advantage of their clients at a time they were vulnerable and facing situations they were unfamiliar with.
“As alleged in the complaint, the defendant took advantage of people who turned to him for his legal expertise and guidance, only to become victims of his greed,” she said. “He violated the oath he took as an attorney when he used client funds and properties entrusted to him and used them for his own personal use.”
Bail was set at $50,000. Lippman is due back in court on Tuesday, Dec. 15. If found guilty of the charges, Lippman faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Assistant District Attorney Brian Conway, the Deputy Chief of the Public Integrity Bureau is investigating the case.
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