Criminal Jusice

Former lawyer reportedly took $4M from victims, including his wife

James Kalpakis, a former New York lawyer who resigned for disciplinary reasons, has admitted to stealing more than $4 million from various people, including his wife, Newsday reports.

The money came from real estate deals, the article states, and Kalpakis, who lives in Old Westbury, agreed to a plea deal of grand larceny. The Nassau District Attorney’s Office originally charged him with 23 counts of grand larceny and forgery.

According to prosecutors, Kalpakis in 2008 forged his wife Bette’s name on a power-of-attorney document to refinance a home she owned. That reportedly got Kalpakis $402,152. The couple filed for divorce in 2010.

Also, the article states, the original indictment alleged that Kalpakis forged deeds from banks when the banks actually did not own the two properties in question. That amounted to a theft of $1.3 million, from a victim who bought the properties.

Kalpakis took another $500,000 from the same victim, Newsday reports, by lying that the money would be invested in Texas oil, gas and mineral leases that involved Kalpakis’ brother. Other charges in the indictment includes an allegation that Kalpakis sold a home he did not own, for $150,000, and he took $45,000 from escrow deposits.

Kalpakis agreed to resign from the practice of law in 2009, according to an Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York opinion. At the time, Newsday reports, he faced 14 professional misconduct charges that accused him of filing false affidavits, and misleading a client about a case’s status. He was previously suspended from the practice of law in 2003, when he was was charged with professional misconduct. That time, the charges involved the mishandling of escrow accounts.

Some of Kalpakis’ crimes occurred in 2010, after he resigned from practice.

A sentencing hearing for Kalpakis is scheduled to take place Dec. 3. His plea agreement lists a prison term of three-and-a-half to 10 years, Newsday reports.

James Toner, Kalpakis lawyer, told the paper that his client agreed to the plea deal in part so the victims could avoid testimony. Kalpakis has three young children, and Toner says his client took the money because he “fell on hard times.”

“He took responsibility for his actions today,” Toner said. “He’s very sorry for what happened. He’s trying to make amends.”

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