A Great Neck elder law attorney is charged with stealing more than $150,000 from a number of clients in a four-year span, Queens prosecutors said Friday.
Martha Brosius, 50, who has offices in Great Neck and Manhattan, was arraigned Thursday before Judge Eric Bjorneby at First District Court in Hempstead. She is charged with three counts of second-degree grand larceny.
Brosius, who faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted, was ordered held on a bail of $100,000 bond or $10,000 cash. She is scheduled to return to court on Oct. 17.
Brosius' attorney, Alexander Bateman of Uniondale, said his client pleaded not guilty.
"We're reviewing the allegations, and we're going to respond in court," he said. "She is an excellent attorney and has done great work for her clients."
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said Brosius, who was appointed guardian for a man, 77, deemed incapacitated under the mental hygiene law, took cash from his account and deposited it into her own account between September 2009 and September 2011.
A forensic review of Brosius' accounts by Brown's office "allegedly revealed a pattern of activity whereby funds belonging to the disabled man were taken by Brosius from the guardianship accounts she maintained on his behalf and deposited into her operating and personal accounts," a news release from the district attorney's office said.
Prosecutors said the funds were then "expended on the defendant's office, payroll and personal expenses."
The criminal charge also says Brosius was hired by two sons of a Westchester man to handle their father's estate -- to sell his residence -- and to set up a Special Needs or Supplemental Needs Trust for their disabled sister, their father's sole inheritor.
The complaint says Brosius deposited proceeds from the sale of the father's house, slightly less than $250,000, into an escrow account.
A vast majority of funds in the account maintained by Brosius allegedly were transferred to other business accounts, operation accounts and an additional escrow account maintained by her and then spent on her personal expenses.
"It is alleged that no money remains from the original escrow deposit nor is there evidence a trust was set up from those funds," the complaint says.
Also, according to the complaint, Brosius took $70,000 in August 2011 from the account of another client. She allegedly was supposed to provide two people with gifts of $10,000 apiece from that estate, under terms of the deceased's will, but checks to the two individuals did not immediately clear the bank because of insufficient funds, prosecutors said. Those funds were eventually returned to the client's family, prosecutors said.
In September 2011, Brosius took $37,000 from the accounts of an elderly woman to cover those checks, prosecutors said.
Brown's office prosecuted the case after Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen M. Rice requested the appointment of a special prosecutor to handle the matter to avoid the appearance of impropriety because of a conflict of interest, the news release said.