A Great Neck lawyer was sentenced Tuesday to 4 to 12 years in prison for stealing nearly $800,000 from her clients, officials said.
Martha Brosius, 52, appeared before acting state Supreme Court Justice Helene F. Gugerty in Mineola and signed a confession of judgment for $797,000, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said in a statement.
Brosius, a former elder law attorney who maintained offices in Great Neck and Manhattan, pleaded guilty June 22 to two counts of second-degree grand larceny and one count of scheme to defraud, Brown said.
Brosius’ lawyer, Marc Gann of Mineola, said his client is being held at the Nassau County jail and will soon be moved to state prison.
Gann said Brosius will serve a minimum of four years: The Department of Corrections will determine when she gets out, he said, calling the sentence “incredibly harsh.”
Gann said Brosius was unable to pay restitution to the dozen people she defrauded. They can instead recoup the money from the state’s client security trust fund, he said.
“I know the claims have been made,” Gann said of the fund, which victims of lawyers can apply to for reimbursement of stolen money. “I’m not sure if anything has been recovered.”
He said Brosius, married with two children under 12, took the money to prop up her one-woman law firm, which was foundering.
“It snowballed and she was never able to pay it back,” he said. “She and her husband live very modestly. They rent a two-bedroom apartment. This was not somebody who was living an extravagant lifestyle.”
Brown was named a special prosecutor in the case at the request of the Nassau County district attorney’s office, which requested the appointment to avoid any appearance of impropriety.
Brosius’ victims include a 77-year-old man deemed incapacitated under the mental health hygiene law and for whom she had been appointed a guardian.