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Long IslandCrime

Manhattan lawyer admits diverting $3.5M in charitable funds to buy Water Mill house

A Manhattan tax and estates lawyer accused of diverting $3.5 million from charitable trusts set up to assist Jewish charities to buy a 6,300-square-foot East End mansion pleaded guilty to tax charges in Manhattan federal court on Thursday.

Steven Etkind, 56, of New City, New York will face up to 10 years in prison for conspiracy and tax evasion at his sentencing before U.S. District Judge John Koeltl, which is scheduled for January. Advisory federal guidelines call for a sentence of 37 to 46 months.

Prosecutors alleged he moved money from the $35 million estate of a deceased entrepreneur who was not named in court papers into phony charitable organizations that he controlled, and then bought a $3 million, two-story house with swimming pool on Deerfield Road in the Southampton hamlet of Water Mill.

In addition to a possible prison sentence, Etkind has agreed to pay $1.2 million in restitution to the IRS as part of his plea agreement.

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