White-Collar Crime

DA's office: Ex-lawyer charged in $1.2M theft got the money by having someone impersonate her client

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A now-disbarred New York lawyer turned herself in Thursday to Nassau County authorities after being indicted in a $1.2 million theft from a client she represented in an eminent domain case.

The district attorney’s office says Janice Jessup, 67, persuaded a court to give her the entire eminent domain award through a ruse: She allegedly had someone impersonate her mentally and physically disabled client and meet with a court official during home visits intended to evaluate the client’s health and wishes, reports Newsday (sub. req.).

In fact, the DA’s office says, the 49-year-old client lives in a residential care facility at a different location than where the meetings took place. The woman inherited the real estate taken taken through eminent domain.

After Jessup got the money in 2008, based on what the court thought the client had authorized, Jessup spent it on herself and her family and gave some funds to other clients, prosecutors contend.

The disbursement to Jessup was investigated after the client’s family complained in 2013, Newsday reports.

Jessup is being held in lieu of $150,000 bail or $100,000 cash bond. Her lawyer, Henry Jones, declined to comment.

She was disbarred in 2010 for conduct unrelated to the eminent domain case.

Hat tip: Associated Press

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