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Officials: Estate theft suspect, formerly of Sea Cliff, had child porn

Former Sea Cliff resident John Derounian is seen

Former Sea Cliff resident John Derounian is seen in an undated photo. Credit: AP

A former Sea Cliff man charged with stealing money from the estate of a dead woman has been indicted on an additional charge: possession of child pornography.

John Derounian, 53, had digital images of one or more children engaging in sex stored on two external USB thumb drives, according to the latest indictment filed in federal court in Central Islip. No other details regarding child pornography were made public in the indictment, which was filed in U.S. District Court, Eastern District on Jan. 2.

Derounian — who had served more than 20 years in prison for the 1983 murder of a Sea Cliff jeweler — is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, said his attorney, Steven Metcalf of Manhattan.

Derounian had a bail hearing scheduled for Thursday, but U.S. District Court Judge Joan Azrack put it off until Jan. 10.

Derounian, who had pleaded not guilty to charges related to the theft, is scheduled to be arraigned on the child pornography charge on the same day as his bail hearing.

Metcalf, who said he has been working on getting Derounian released on bail for a second time, said the child pornography charge comes at a “very convenient” time for prosecutors.

“We’re inches away from getting him out on bail,” Metcalf said Wednesday.

According to the indictment, Derounian and others, whom federal prosecutors did not name, devised a scheme to defraud the woman, identified in court papers as “Jane Doe,” of about $1.2 million in assets. Sources had identified the woman as Marilyn Mosberg-Shapiro, 77, a lawyer and a retired judge, who was reported dead on Nov. 12, 2015 by Derounian.

At the time, Derounian, who lived in the same building in Nassau as Mosberg-Shapiro, told police he found her body, according to court papers.

On Nov. 15, 2015, three days after Derounian told authorities he found Mosberg-Shapiro, he used her Gmail account to order a will from Legalzoom.com, the indictment said. Derounian drafted the document, naming him as the executor of the late judge’s estate.

On Jan. 6, 2016, Derounian filed the will in Nassau County Surrogate’s Court in Mineola, naming himself as the remaining primary beneficiary, according to the indictment.

On June. 1, 2016, Derounian sold Mosberg-Shapiro’s property and had the proceeds from the sale, totaling $972,681, sent to him, the indictment said.

Back on Nov. 15, 2017, Azrack released Derounian, who his lawyer said was in ill heath, on bail and ordered him to remain in his home with electronic monitoring. The judge allowed Derounian — who was released in 2007 after serving time for the murder of Joseph Bellisimo — to visit his parole officers in Hempstead.

Five days after his release on bail, Derounian was supposed to go from his home in Flushing to Hempstead and directly back, but he violated the judge’s order and stopped by a drugstore on his way home. His bail was revoked.

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