Thursday, 04 June 2009 15:24
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced the arrest of a Plainview attorney who has been charged with stealing more than $73,000 from a couple he was representing in the sale of a piece of property. In a separate case, charges were filed Tuesday morning against a disbarred attorney who, Rice said, held himself out as a practicing attorney to a woman, who eventually lost a civil judgment of more than $200,000 after the Merrick man failed to appear in court on her behalf.
The Plainview attorney, Stuart Gorman, 55, has been charged with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree. The disbarred Merrick attorney, Michael Schlussel, 47, has been charged with practicing law without a license and faces up to a year in jail. Gorman faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Rice said that on or around October 1, 2008, Gorman was hired by a Brooklyn couple to represent them in the sale of a piece of property in Dyker Heights. Gorman was given a check by the buyer for $73,500 as a down payment on the purchase price. Instead of giving the check to the sellers of the property, Gorman deposited the check into his escrow account and then used the money for personal and business expenses, Rice stated.
Rice said that Schlussel, a disbarred attorney posing as a law partner in a Carle Place firm of Edward Savran, Esq., was hired by a woman involved in a landlord-tenant issue in February 2008. Schlussel, now working in real estate, had dealt with the firm on approximately ten real estate closings without incident. In May 2008, however, the victim called the law office demanding to know why her attorney had not been present at her court proceeding. The firm, having no knowledge of the woman or her case, told Schlussel to take care of the matter because the firm had never agreed to take on the woman’s case, Rice said.
Schlussel was disbarred after pleading guilty in May 2003 to Attempted Grand Larceny in the Second Degree. He received time served, a conditional discharge, and was forced to pay $100,000 in restitution after attempting to steal that amount from a client.
In October 2008, the victim called the firm again, furious that once again she was unrepresented in court and had a judgment levied against her in the amount of $210,415.
“These two men have violated the trust of those who believed they could turn to them for help,” Rice said. “Wearing a suit and tie to work does not make their crimes any less egregious or despicable, and they will be aggressively prosecuted by my office.”
Handling the Gorman case for the DA’s Office is Deputy Chief William Wallace of the Government & Consumer Frauds Bureau. Gorman is represented by Marc Gann, Esq.
Handling the Schlussel case for the DA’s Office is Assistant District Attorney Victoria Curran of the DA’s Government & Consumer Frauds Bureau.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.