Former town justice pleads guilty to helping steal over $11.8M in estate assets
A former part-time town justice in New York who was also a law firm partner has pleaded guilty for his role in stealing more than $11.8 million in estate assets he helped oversee.
Richard Sherwood resigned from his position as a Guilderland town justice in April. He pleaded guilty on Monday to federal charges of money laundering and filing false federal tax returns, and a state charge of second-degree grand larceny, according to the New York Law Journal, the Times Union and press releases here and here.
Sherwood practiced primarily in the area of estates and trusts and was a partner at Mazzotta, Sherwood & Vagianelis in Albany, New York. He is no longer listed on the law firm’s website.
Prosecutors alleged Sherwood and a lawyer for a financial planning company conspired to steal $11.8 million from the estate of two philanthropists, Warren and Pauline Bruggeman. Warren Bruggeman was a former General Electric executive. The Bruggemans had directed their assets go to charities and civic groups, and to two sisters of Pauline Bruggeman. One of the sisters suffered from dementia for years before her death.
Sherwood admitted that he received nearly $3.6 million in assets, and another $1.96 million in assets was transferred to an entity controlled by him and the financial adviser, according to federal prosecutors. He also admitted transferring a residence to himself that previously belonged to the the Bruggemans. The tax charges alleged he failed to report about $4.7 million in income from the scheme in 2013 and 2015.