A paralegal for an East End law firm was arraigned Friday on charges of embezzling more than $250,000 during a three-year period, police said.

Joseph W. Abramski, 63, of Greenport, was charged with second-degree grand larceny and second-degree forgery, accused of stealing the funds while employed at the firm of Bourke, Flanagan & Asato PC, in Southampton, Southampton Village police said.

"He was writing checks to himself from the company's checking account and depositing them in an out-of-state account," Det. Sgt. Herm Lamison Friday.

Citing a continuing forensic probe of the money trail, Lamison declined to give more details but said the scheme was a "little more elaborate" than just writing checks, so Abramski's colleagues did not detect anything until recently.

An office worker and firm partner first noticed problems, Lamison said.

Investigators are looking at whether Abramski, who has been with the firm for 12 years, used the money to pay off debts.

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"I believe he had a gambling problem, more along the lines of horse racing," Lamison said.

Abramski was arraigned Friday before Justice Barbara Wilson in Southampton Village Justice Court and was remanded to the Suffolk County jail in Riverside in lieu of $50,000 bail.

It was not known if Abramski is represented by counsel.

Calls Friday to the law firm were not returned.

With John Valenti