Disbarred attorney indicted again, stole nearly $400,000 from 3rd client, Suffolk DA says
A former Stony Brook attorney already accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a pair of clients has been indicted again after investigators learned of a third client he allegedly stole nearly $400,000 from, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.
Douglas Valente, 56, was arraigned Friday before state Supreme Court Justice Richard Ambro in Riverhead on one count of grand larceny after allegedly removing funds he was holding in an escrow account for a client who sold his home as part of a divorce proceeding, prosecutors said in a news release. In total, Valente is now accused of stealing more than $825,000 from escrow accounts between April 2020 and September 2022.
“[Valente] is now alleged to have stolen close to a million dollars from three of his clients over a two-and-a-half-year period,” District Attorney Ray Tierney said in a statement. “Attorneys have a duty to act in the best interests of their clients. Not only did this defendant allegedly violate that duty, he also stole from them, and this will not be tolerated.”
Valente's defense attorney, John Carmen, could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.
Prosecutors said Valente, who was the principal attorney of Valente Law Group in Stony Brook before being disbarred by the New York State Grievance Committee for the Tenth Judicial District last May, spent the funds from the thefts on business and personal expenses.
Now a resident of Boca Raton, Florida, Valente was first arrested in November and charged with two counts of grand larceny. In the earlier incidents, he was alleged to have stolen $181,000 from a 78-year-old real estate client and $248,000 from a mortgage lender.
Valente surrendered to the district attorney’s office Friday and was released by Ambro on his own recognizance. Grand larceny is not a bail-eligible offense under New York State law. He is due back in court March 3.
The district attorney’s office is asking anyone who believes they may be a victim of a theft by Valente to call 631-853-5602.
With John Asbury