Three people who hired a Sands Point lawyer were bilked of tens of thousands of dollars because he failed to pay them the proceeds from estate sales and a personal injury suit, the Queens district attorney said Tuesday.
The lawyer, Michael Kohn, 70, who voluntarily resigned from the bar in January 2019 for disciplinary reasons, was charged with three counts of grand larceny that took place from June 2013 to June 2017, District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement.
Kohn, who had an office in Fresh Meadows, “is accused of breaching the trust of his clients and unjustly enriching himself,” Katz said. Instead of acting on their behalf, she said, “The defendant allegedly pocketed tens of thousands of dollars that should have been distributed to his clients.”
The first victim, an executor of an estate, hired Kohn to sell a property in Woodside; it sold for $868,000. But instead of the executor being paid $358,000 they were due, they received two checks totaling $100,000, Katz said.
The second victim, who hired the defendant for a personal injury case, won a $90,000 settlement but never received a dime, Katz said, saying Kohn was paid the money.
The third victim, administering an estate for a relative, hired Kohn to sell a Douglaston property that fetched about $650,000 — but this victim received only $100,000 though the remaining funds were under Kohn’s control, Katz said.
Kohn's Garden City based attorney Brian Griffin said Tuesday afternoon: “Mr. Kohn was a practicing attorney for almost 30 years. He served and assisted countless clients during that time in a professional and successful manner. While he takes these allegations very seriously, he has entered a plea of not guilty and will address these charges more fully in a court of law.”
Two of Kohn's victims live in Queens, and another lives in Georgia, according to the district attorney's office.
Kohn was released on recognizance at his arraignment Monday.
With Antonio Planas