Friday, December 30, 2011
Attorney Frederic Powell Disbarred For Grand Larceny, Possession of a Forged Instrument, and Attempted Bribery
Is Stealing Money by an Attorney Legal Malpractice?
NEW YORK, Dec 30 (Reuters) - A Long Island real-estate attorney was formally banned from practicing law in New York after he admitted to trying to pay a government official $250 to expedite his request for public information on a property.
The Appellate Division, Second Department, on Thursday granted a motion by the Grievance Committee for the Tenth Judicial District to disbar Frederic Powell, who pleaded guilty in March to grand larceny, criminal possession of a forged instrument and attempted bribery.
According to the court record, Powell admitted to stealing property worth more than $50,000 and to putting a person's name on a mortgage without her knowledge or consent.
He was also caught in 2010 trying to bribe a Hempstead Township clerk to speed up a request he made under the Freedom of Information Law for information on a piece of property.
According to a statement from Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, Powell was told by the clerk that it would take up to five days to process his request. Powell told the clerk that he needed the information that day and put a $100 bill on the counter, asking if it would be possible to expedite the process.
After the clerk said that there was nothing she could do to speed up the request, Powell pushed a second $100 bill across the counter, according to prosecutors. When the clerk refused, saying she would call him when she received the requested information, Powell crumpled up and threw a $50 bill at the clerk.
The clerk returned all of the money to Powell before he left, the DA said. A spokeswoman for Rice said that Powell's case is still active and that he has not yet been sentenced.
Powell could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday. He did not oppose the grievance committee's motion for disbarment and did not respond to the disciplinary action, according to the court ruling.
The case is In the Matter of Frederic Powell, in the Supreme Court for the State of New York, Appellate Division: Second Judicial Department, No. 2009-04002.
For the disciplinary committee: Daniel Mitola of Hauppauge, N.Y.
(Reporting by Jessica Dye)
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