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Nassau lawyer stole $1.4M from escrow account, own firm, says prosecutor

Authorities said Steve Weinstock, 48, of Roslyn Heights,

Authorities said Steve Weinstock, 48, of Roslyn Heights, stole $720,000 held in an escrow account and pocketed more than $700,000 in proceeds from the sale of an East Hills property his firm owned. Weinstock was charged on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, with grand larceny, criminal possession of a forged instrument and offering a false instrument for filing, they said. Photo Credit: Nassau County DA's office

A Roslyn Heights attorney was arrested Tuesday in the theft of more than $1.4 million, according to Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice.

Steve Weinstock, 48, stole $720,000 held in an escrow account and pocketed more than $700,000 in proceeds from the sale of an East Hills property his firm owned, authorities said.

Weinstock was charged with four counts of second-degree grand larceny, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing.

His attorney, Kenneth Keith of Garden City, entered a not-guilty plea at his arraignment. Weinstock was held with bail set at $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond.

Keith did not return calls Tuesday.

"Attorneys shouldn't steal from their clients, much less their law partner, mortgage company, and real estate buyers who had no idea there was an unpaid mortgage on their property," Rice said in a news release.

Authorities said Weinstock's former law partner received a package from Weinstock in April, including a handwritten statement from him that $720,000 was missing from the escrow account, and Weinstock had sold the East Hills property without paying off the outstanding mortgage.

The law partner, who was unaware, referred the matter to district attorney investigators.

Authorities said the stolen $720,000 in the escrow account was down payments for two sales of commercial condominium units in New York City.

Weinstock's firm purchased the East Hills property in 2008 and took out a mortgage on the property in 2010, prosecutors said. Weinstock sold it on the company's behalf in 2013 without paying off the mortgage of approximately $485,000, prosecutors said.

The buyers' lender paid Weinstock's firm about $608,000 and the buyers paid Weinstock about $117,000, in addition to a $50,000 down payment the purchasers paid at the time of the contract, prosecutors said.

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