A disbarred lawyer from Old Westbury admitted Thursday that he stole more than $4 million from several people -- including his wife -- in real estate deals, prosecutors said.
James Kalpakis, 52, pleaded guilty to the top count of grand larceny and agreed to a term of 31/3 to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 3 by Judge Philip Grella in County Court in Mineola, Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. The original indictment charged Kalpakis with 23 counts of grand larceny and forgery.
"This defendant spun lie after lie in order to steal millions from innocent people whose only crime was placing their trust in the wrong man. Mr. Kalpakis proved himself nothing more than a con man," Rice said in a statement.
Kalpakis stole $402,152 from his wife, Bette Kalpakis, in 2008 by submitting a forged power of attorney in her name and refinancing a home that she owned, the prosecutor said.
Court records show Bette Kalpakis had filed for divorce in 2006, but the legal action was discontinued in 2007. It was filed anew in 2010 and is next on the calendar for Oct. 7 in State Supreme Court in Mineola.
Bail had been set at $52,500 bond or $26,250 cash, and Kalpakis remains free until sentencing. A child who answered the door at the Kalpakis home Thursday said no adults were home. Attempts to reach other suspected victims were unsuccessful.
Kalpakis agreed to the plea deal, in part, to spare victims from testifying in court, said his attorney, James Toner of Mineola.
"He took responsibility for his actions today," Toner said. "He's very sorry for what happened. He's trying to make amends."
Kalpakis, who has three young daughters, took the money, Toner said, because he fell on "hard times."
Among charges in the original indictment:
$1.3 million theft from a victim who bought two homes with forged deeds from banks that were not actually the owners of the properties;
$500,000 theft from the same victim between June 2009 and July 2009 by falsely representing that it would be invested in oil, gas, and mineral leases in Texas involving Kalpakis' brother;
$150,000 stolen between August 2010 and September 2010 by selling a home Kalpakis did not own;
$45,000 theft from escrow deposits from a victim between January 2010 and December 2010; and
The theft of $80,000 from a victim using three separate real estate scams.
Other records show Kalpakis was allowed to resign his law license in 2009 in the face of 14 allegations of professional misconduct that included filing false affidavits in State Supreme Court in both Brooklyn and Queens and misleading a client about the status of a case.
He had been slapped with a two-year suspension from practicing law in 2003 after he was served with six charges of professional misconduct, including mishandling the escrow accounts of clients.