John Ioannou Charged in 19-Count Indictment With Embezzling Settlement Funds

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of JOHN IOANNOU, 57, an attorney,for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from his clients since at least 2007 and attempting to coerce others to drop complaints they had filed against him with the Departmental Disciplinary Committee of the Appellate Division, First Department (“DDC”). The defendant has been indicted in New York State Supreme Court on charges of Grand Larceny in the Second and Third Degrees, Forgery in the Second Degree, Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in Second Degree, Falsifying Business Records, and related charges.[1]

IOANNOU is charged with scheming to embezzle money from three personal injury clients beginning in March 2010. According to the charges, after settling their cases, the defendant took the settlement money for his own use and subsequently refused contact with his clients.

When they grew frustrated at not being able to obtain their settlement money in a timely manner, some of IOANNOU’s clients filed complaints about him with the DDC. These complaints occasionally prompted the defendant to re-pay his clients, though often on the unlawful condition that they withdraw any pending complaint with the DDC. The defendant is further charged with sending letters to the DDC purporting to be from his clients requesting that the complaints against him be withdrawn.

In December 2011, the IOANNOU was suspended from the practice of law by the Appellate Division, First Department. He had been previously censured in 2007 and admonished for earlier misconduct in 2003 and 2004.

Assistant District Attorney Leah Keith of the Special Prosecutions Bureau is handling the prosecution of this case under the supervision of Judy Salwen and Archana Rao, Deputy Chiefs of the Special Prosecutions Bureau, and Thomas Wornom, Chief of the Special Prosecutions Bureau. Investigator Greg Dunlavey and Forensic Accounting and Financial Investigator Peter Chicola, and Trial Preparation Assistant Michelle Hershkowitz also assisted with the investigation.

District Attorney Vance thanked the Departmental Disciplinary Committee of the Appellate Division, First Department,especially Principal Attorney Kevin O’Sullivan and Special Trial Counsel Jeremy Garber.

Defendant Information:

JOHN IOANNOU, D.O.B. 1/13/55

Manhasset, NY

Charges:

· Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 3 counts

· Forgery in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 3 counts

· Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 3 counts

· Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count

· Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony, 4 counts

· Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

· Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

· An Attempt to Commit the Crime of Coercion in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 3 counts



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

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