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Manhattan lawyer stole $3.5M from charitable trusts, feds say

A prominent Manhattan estates lawyer stole $3.5 million from charitable trusts that a wealthy client set up to assist Jewish charities and used some of the money to buy a 6,300-square-foot home in Southampton, according to charges unsealed in Manhattan federal court Wednesday.

Steven Etkind, 57, allegedly ripped off the $35 million estate of an “entrepreneur client” who wasn’t named by working with a co-conspirator to move the money into phony charitable organizations and accounts that he had set up and controlled, according to the charges.

The charges also allege that he used some of the money to buy the two-story Southampton house with swimming pool in 2010 for $3.025 million, purchasing it in the name of “JE Capital Holding Co.”

The firm did not respond to emails for comment. Etkin’s lawyer, Randy Zelin, said, “My client and I are looking forward to the truth coming to light. He’s entered a plea of not guilty with good reason. “

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