ATTORNEY STEPHEN JACKSON INDICTED FOR FRAUD SCHEME INVOLVING MORE THAN $100,000 IN CLIENT SETTLEMENT FUNDS AND $150,000 IN FRAUD AGAINST BANK

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., announced the indictment of STEPHEN JACKSON, 54, an attorney licensed in New York, for stealing approximately $110,000 from three clients’ settlement funds. JACKSON is accused of taking much of the money as cash through hundreds of ATM withdrawals, and using other stolen funds to pay former clients whose settlements he had previously taken. JACKSON is also charged with stealing more than $150,000 from Capital One Bank in a fraudulent check scheme, and with lying and falsifying evidence in proceedings before the committee that investigates complaints of attorney misconduct. The indictment charges JACKSON with Grand Larceny, Perjury, Forgery, Identity Theft, and other related charges.[1]

“Clients in New York must be able to rely on lawyers to represent their interests honestly,” said DA Vance. “This defendant, instead, is accused of betraying their trust to line his own pockets. To make matters worse, he’s also charged with compounding his conduct by fabricating evidence and committing perjury before the attorney Disciplinary Committee.”

According to documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court, between April and May 2007, JACKSON received three settlement checks totaling approximately $94,000 on behalf of one client. He is accused of stealing $64,000 of that amount. He used $20,780 to make payments to other individuals, and kept the remaining funds. The settlement funds were completely depleted by July 2007.

According to documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court, in December 2007, JACKSON received a settlement in the amount of $20,000 on behalf of another client. Without the client’s knowledge, JACKSON is charged with directing his adversary to pay a third of the settlement money to him. He deposited two separate checks representing the total settlement amount in his escrow account, and withdrew approximately $8,800 of that amount through 14 separate cash withdrawals in less than two weeks. JACKSON is accused of forging this victim’s name on the back of the settlement check made payable to the victim. He withdrew most of this money as cash, and used some of the victim’s funds to pay a former client $4,000, whose settlement JACKSON had received a couple months earlier and had withdrawn as cash.

According to documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court, on July 28, 2009, JACKSON received a check for $52,633.22 from the United States Treasury intended for another client. Despite the victim’s repeated attempts to contact JACKSON about whether a settlement had been reached, JACKSON failed to inform the victim that he had received the payment. Instead, JACKSON forged the client’s signature on the back of the check and deposited it into his escrow account. He used the money, among other things, to pay $30,000 to another former client. He also made more than 40 cash withdrawals totaling almost $28,000.

The Departmental Disciplinary Committee (“DDC”), an arm of New York’s appellate court responsible for investigating complaints of misconduct by licensed attorneys, initiated an investigation into JACKSON after receiving complaints from aggrieved clients. JACKSON filed an answer to a victim’s complaint with the DDC and included with his answer copies of his monthly bank statements for his escrow account. JACKSON also testified under oath at a deposition regarding the victim’s complaint and was specifically asked about the bank statements he had offered in support of his answer. JACKSON is accused of forging the bank statements he filed with the DDC and testifying falsely in his deposition. The fraudulent bank statements omitted numerous cash and ATM withdrawals, and included falsely inflated account balances.

According to documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court, JACKSON is also accused of stealing $157,000 from Capital One Bank in July 2011 by depositing a fraudulent $480,000 check purportedly from Progressive Insurance Company into his escrow account and immediately withdrawing $157,000 by requesting a cashier’s check based on the new, falsely inflated balance. The $480,000 check included an actual Progressive Insurance account number and check number; however, JACKSON is accused of fabricating this check, altering its image, and making it payable to himself.

Assistant District Attorney Brian Kudon is handling the prosecution of this case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Thomas Wornom, Chief of the Special Prosecutions Bureau, and Archana Rao and Judy Salwen, Deputy Chiefs of the Special Prosecutions Bureau. Trial Preparation Assistant Michelle Hershkowitz, Financial Analyst Elaine Li and Investigator Greg Dunlavey also assisted in the investigation of this case.

[1] The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


Defendant Information:

STEPHEN JACKSON, D.O.B. 11/28/57
St. Albans, NY

Charges:
• Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 2 counts
• Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 2 counts
• Perjury in the First Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
• Forgery in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 4 counts
• Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 4 counts
• Tampering with Physical Evidence, a class E felony, 1 count
• Identity Theft in the First Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
• Offering a False Instrument For Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
• Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

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