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DA: Freeport lawyer pleads guilty to stealing $29G from clients

A disbarred Freeport attorney is expected to be sentenced to five years' probation and 500 hours of community service after pleading guilty Friday to stealing more than $28,000 from four clients, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement.

Reinelda Elizabeth Urena de Checo, 41, pleaded guilty to third-degree grand larceny before Acting Nassau County Court Judge Scott Fairgrieve. Urena de Checo is required to make full restitution -- a total of $28,925 -- to the four victims before her sentencing. She is due back in court on Oct. 16.

The thefts occurred between February 2012 and last September, Rice said.

According to prosecutors, Urena de Checo stole money meant to pay settlements in two of the cases, which were civil matters, and in one case stole money that had been entrusted to her for down payment on a house. The fourth victim hired Urena de Checo to represent her in a divorce, but authorities said the attorney stole her money -- without doing any work for the client.

Urena de Checo was disbarred in January as a result of the thefts and she was arrested in March, officials said.

Kimberly D. Lerner, an attorney in Carle Place, said Friday that her client "is pleased to conclude this process and move on with her life. She would like to thank her supporters who have stood with her and offered her encouragement throughout this process."

Three of the victims were from Nassau, the other from Suffolk, according to Rice.

One of the victims was the owner of a barber shop in Hempstead, while another owned a restaurant in Hempstead. Those clients gave Urena de Checo checks to pay settlements -- and, authorities said, the attorney took both.

With Patricia Kitchen

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