An attorney and his client have been indicted for stealing $395,000 from their illegal sale of a Huntington home to the client's relatives, Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said Thursday.
Jerome Binder, 38, an attorney from Patchogue, was charged with second-degree grand larceny, a class c felony; six counts of first-degree falsifying business, a class e felony; and fourth degree conspiracy, a class e felony, Sini said in a statement.
James Regateiro, 49, of Dix Hills, Binder's client, was charged with second-degree grand larceny, a class c felony; six counts of first-degree falsifying business records, a class e felony; and fourth-degree conspiracy, a class e felony.
"These individuals did not have the right to sell the property in the first place, let alone squander all of the proceeds from the sale on their own personal expenses," Sini said.
Binder and Regateiro represented themselves to multiple parties as having permission and authority to sell a residential property located at 8 Goldfinch Lane in Huntington, which in fact was in a trust created by one of Regateiro’s relatives, according to an investigation by the district attorney's Financial Investigations & Money Laundering Bureau.
The trust did not name Regateiro as a trustee and contained provisions stating that no bequests be made to him, Sini said.
At the closing for the sale of the property on July 12, 2017, Binder and Regateiro allegedly filed several falsified documents — including a forged trust document naming Regateiro as the trustee — with the Suffolk County Clerk’s Office and the title company.
Binder and Regateiro then obtained a $395,000 cashier’s check for the sale of the property and deposited the funds into an account affiliated with Binder’s law practice, Sini said.
The two then used the money for numerous expenditures between July 12, 2017, and Sept. 13, 2017, the statement said, including payments to credit card companies and mortgage lenders. The money was also used for car payments and payments to accounts associated with businesses owned by Binder or Regateiro, according to Sini's statement, which noted that large cash withdrawals were also made.
Regateiro was arraigned Aug. 13 and released on his own recognizance. He is being represented by attorney David Besso.
Binder was arraigned Aug. 26 and also released on his own recognizance. He is being represented by attorney William Wexler.
If convicted of the top count, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of five to 15 years in prison.
Neither man's attorney immediately returned calls for comment Thursday.
Both are due back in court on Sept. 21.