NEW YORK, United States, Monday December 17, 2018 – A New York-based Grenadian attorney has been indicted on a grand larceny charge for allegedly withholding proceeds from the US$1.7 million sale of a building owned by a retired couple.
Gerard Douglas, 50, was arraigned last week before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which he is charged with second-degree grand larceny.
He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
“This defendant was trusted with funds that he was obligated to give to his clients. Instead, he allegedly betrayed that trust and kept $650,000 of his retired clients’ money. We will now seek to hold him accountable for this alleged theft,” Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said of Douglas.
He said that, according to the investigation, between August 2016 and March 2017, Douglas represented a couple, a married couple ages 70 and 71 years old, in the sale of their nine-unit building in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, providing legal services through the law firm Douglas & Associates P.C.
It is alleged that Douglas represented the victims at the closing of the sale of their property on September 12, 2016, at which time he received checks totaling nearly US$1.5 million, which, less the down payment, represented the balance owed. It is alleged that the defendant kept the funds, depositing them into his escrow account. He was also in possession of a down payment of US$170,000 that he received in August 2016.
At the end of October 2016, Douglas sent the victims a cheque for US$200,000 and a week later wired them US$600,000. In March 2017, he gave them another cheque for US$100,000.
Finally, it is alleged, that despite repeated and urgent requests from the victims, Douglas failed to turn over the balance of the funds, less his legal fee and a broker’s fee, which was approximately US$650,000.