A disbarred Hicksville attorney allegedly stole a $40,000 down payment from clients who were selling their home, spending the money at Home Depot and department stores, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced Wednesday.
Constantine Giannakos, 51, was arraigned in Nassau County District Court in Hempstead on Wednesday and charged with a felony count of third-degree grand larceny, officials said.
Bail was set at $40,000 bond or $30,000 cash and he is due back in court Friday. He faces a maximum of 3-1/2 to 7 years in prison if convicted.
“This defendant, a disbarred attorney, is accused of stealing a down payment of $40,000 from his clients and using the money for his own personal expenses,” Singas said in a statement.
Giannakos was representing a Hicksville woman and her ex-husband in the sale of their home.
The sellers and the home buyers agreed to a sales contract on Feb. 4, 2017.
When it was signed, the buyer's attorney made the check payable to Giannakos and it was deposited into his escrow account, where it was supposed to held until closing, prosecutors said.
From the time the contract was signed until the scheduled Sept. 27, 2017 closing date, Giannakos met with one of the home sellers at Dunkin’ Donuts on Newbridge Road in Hicksville, not in a Syosset office he claimed he had, prosecutors said.
After the home was sold, Giannakos was supposed to hand over the $40,000, but didn’t. The home sellers made several requests before complaining to authorities, prosecutors said.
A escrow account review showed Giannakos allegedly spent the $40,000 at Home Depot, on credit card payments, department stores, mortgage payments and unrelated business expenses, prosecutors said.
“Anyone interested in hiring an attorney is encouraged to check that person’s standing and registration with the Office of Court Administration,” Singas said.
Giannakos was disbarred in August 2012. The reason wasn’t immediately available.