A financial planner from Oyster Bay raided the trust account of a Nanuet couple he knew from college to pay for his personal expenses, shattering his 45-year friendship with them, the Nassau County district attorney's office said.
Steven Klein, 62, was arraigned Wednesday on a charge of third-degree larceny in the embezzlement of $25,780 from a trust account that he controlled as a trustee and financial planner, prosecutors said.
The life insurance trust fund had been set up for Daren Tuchband, who together with her husband, Jerald, had known Klein since their college days, prosecutors said.
But between April 12, 2007, until Nov. 14, 2013, Klein transferred funds to accounts he maintained for his business, JASAM Financial, and used the money to pay bills at supermarkets, pharmacies, book stores, LIPA, AOL and automobile lease, authorities said.
To pay for the trust's policy premiums, Klein got loans from a life insurance company against the cash surrender value of the Tuchband's policy, prosecutors said. The loans, which totaled $11,018.99 plus interest, reduced the value of the policy, prosecutors said.
The Tuchbands tried several times to get their money back from Klein, but they were unsuccessful and contacted the district attorney's office, authorities said.
Klein was represented by Legal Aid, which does not comment on cases. He faces a maximum sentence of 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison and is due back in court on June 5.
He could not be immediately reached Wednesday afternoon.
"Regardless of whether an investor has known their financial planner for a month, or for decades, I urge everyone to be vigilant about checking their accounts for unauthorized purchases and withdrawals," acting District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement.