Ex-real estate lawyer pleads guilty to bilking couple
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A former Oceanside real estate attorney pleaded guilty to bilking a couple out of $10,000 when he declined to return their calls or the money he was supposed to hold for them in escrow after the 2011 sale of their home.
Nathan Levner, 54, who in December 2012 was disbarred in connection with the case, pleaded guilty to third-degree grand larceny Wednesday before Nassau County Court Judge Tammy Robbins and is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 15.
"Real estate attorneys are trusted with our finances and have access to very sensitive personal information, so it's especially disturbing when one is found to be stealing from his clients," Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement.
Levner's attorney, Robert McDonald of Mineola, could not be reached for comment.
Levner's plea comes more than two years after a couple hired him in July 2011 to represent them in the sale of their former home and the purchase of another one, Rice's office said.
After the couple closed the sale of the home they were vacating, they gave Levner $10,000 to be held in escrow until they had moved out, authorities said. But, Rice's office said, the money was not returned when the couple vacated the home and Levner did not return phone calls, Rice's office said.
The couple hired another attorney to represent them in the closing of the home they were purchasing in September 2011 and issued a demand letter to Levner.
Levner was suspended from practicing law on June 1, 2012, after admitting he had used the couple's money for himself, authorities said.
He was disbarred later that year.