The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office announced last month the arrest and indictment of Marc A. Bernstein for Grand Larceny in the Second Degree as well a other charges for an alleged scheme where he stole over $600,000 from client escrow accounts. Well, unfortunately for Mr. Bernstein, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office announced once again that he had been re-arrested (he was out of custody on $250,000 bail) and charged with multiple counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree for stealing $1,500,000 from five clients’ escrow accounts. In total, the alleged theft is approximately $2,200,000.
According to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office:
“In the typical case, Mr. Bernstein negotiated a settlement on behalf of the victim, took control of the incoming settlement money and then stole it. In one instance that has now given rise to charges, Bernstein, acting as an escrow agent, received $900,000 in real estate deposit money on a contract of sale for the purchase of a building in lower Manhattan and stole that money from the intended purchaser of the property.”
In the current case involving the $1,500,000, as opposed to the previous theft case involving approximate $600,000, the Grand Jury indicted the defendant for Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree. Grand Larceny in the Second Degree is punishable by up to 5 to 15 years in prison, Grand Larceny in the Third Degree is punishable by up to 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree is punishable by up to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison.
It is interesting to note that since these scheme involve different clients and different times, it is possible, albeit unlikely, that the sentences can run consecutive, as opposed to concurrent. Moreover, although it is commonly done where the scheme involves the same victims as opposed to multiple victims, there is case law permitting an aggregation of the total amount to raise the level of the crime as opposed to making each theft from each victim a distinct and separate lesser offense. Regardless, Mr. Bernstein faces serious challenges ahead.
Whatever the challenge is before you or a loved one, contact the white collar criminal defense attorneys at Crotty Saland PC.