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(CMC) –A Grenadian American lawyer in Brooklyn has been indicted on a grand larceny charge for allegedly withholding proceeds from the US$1.7 million sale of a building in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn owned by a retired couple.
“This defendant was trusted with funds that he was obligated to give to his clients,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez on Friday.
“Instead, he allegedly betrayed that trust and kept $650,000 of his retired clients’ money. We will now seek to hold him accountable for this alleged theft.”
The District Attorney identified the lawyer as Gerald Douglas, 50.
Douglas was also arraigned on Thursday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun with second-degree grand larceny.
He was ordered held on bail of $100,000 bond or $50,000 cash and to return to court on February 6.
Douglas faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Gonzalez said according to the investigation, between August 2016 and March 2017, Douglas represented a couple in the sale of their nine-unit building at 11A Spencer Place in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Gonzalez alleged that Douglas represented the victims, a married couple, 70 and 71 years old, at the closing of the sale of their property on September 12, 2016, “at which time he received checks totaling nearly US$1.5 million, which, less the down payment, represented the balance owed.”
“It is alleged that the defendant kept the funds, depositing them into his escrow account,” the district attorney said. “He was also in possession of a down payment of US$170,000 that he received in August 2016.”
At the end of October 2016, Gonzalez said Douglas sent the victims a check for US$200,000 and a week later wired them US$600,000.
In March 2017, Gonzalez said Douglas gave the couple another check for US$100,000.
“Despite repeated and urgent requests from the victims, the defendant failed to turn over the balance of the funds, less his legal fee and a broker’s fee, which was approximately US$650,000,” Gonzalez said.