A real estate attorney working in New York could be sentenced next year to up to 13 ½ years behind bars after pleading guilty to stealing more than $14 million from his clients.
The Manhattan district attorney announced a guilty plea from Mitchell Kossoff, a 68-year-old lawyer, on grand larceny in the first, second and third degrees, as well as scheme to defraud charges.
Prosecutors had alleged Kossoff stole from the escrow accounts of nearly three dozen clients to the tune of $14.6 million. From December 2017 to April 2021, the Manhattan-based attorney transferred portions of money out of their accounts and into one's he could access.
Kossoff had been accused of using the stolen funds to pay back some of his clients, some he had already taken from. The money was also used to pay his personal credit card bills and monthly rent on a luxury New York City apartment, prosecutors said.
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“In order to finance his own business and lifestyle, Mitchell Kossoff stole huge sums of money that belonged to people who trusted him,” District Attorney Cy Vance said Monday.
Kossoff's scheme fell apart back in March when prosecutors say his clients discovered the lawyer was not transferring funds with the escrow accounts per their agreements. Prosecutors said those clients contacted authorities when Kossoff became unresponsive.
The Manhattan district attorney said Kossoff pleaded guilty to all charges in New York State Supreme Court. He now faces 4 ½ to 13 ½ years in prison.
Kossoff's sentencing is scheduled for April 6, 2022.