A Manhasset attorney who represented a restaurateur pleaded guilty Thursday to using his client’s funds to fuel a luxury lifestyle, from country club to cigar club, the Nassau District Attorney’s office said.
Alfred DiGirolomo Jr., 63, stole almost $230,000 and now faces 30 days to six months in jail for second-degree grand larceny if he pays back the full amount, prosecutors said. He still owes about $131,000, and if he does not pay that, he may get one to three years in prison at his June 4 sentencing, authorities said.
DiGirolomo had represented the restaurateur in three lawsuits between January 1, 2014, and May 5, 2016, and the client gave the attorney funds to settle the litigation, officials said.
Instead, heforged documents to indicate the lawsuits were resolved when they were not and spent the money on a figure skating club dues, insurance payments, department store purchases, a civic association, credit cards, utilities, gas and other items, prosecutors said.
"This defendant used his client’s money to fund a luxurious lifestyle that included cars, country club membership and a cigar club,” District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a news release. “Dirty attorneys have no place in Nassau County."
The theft was not discovered until the restaurateur hired another attorney, prompting the district attorney's office to open an investigation in January 2017.
DiGirolomo will be automatically disbarred as a result of pleading guilty to a felony.
"His conduct was abberational and he's very sorry," said his attorney, James Froccaro of Port Washington.
Since 2012, the Nassau District Attorney's office said, it has prosecuted more than 25 attorneys for misconduct.
The district attorney's office asks people who believe they have been victimized by attorneys to call its tip line at 516-571-7755. Authorities said anyone interested in hiring an attorney may check that person’s standing and registration with the Office of Court Administration.