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Disbarred Flushing attorney stole from client’s estate: DA

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Queens resident James Graham tried to save enough money to take care of his family after he died, but thanks to his attorney, his kin nearly lost all of those savings, the Queens district attorney said.

Former Flushing attorney Stephen E. Pearlman was charged May 27 with grand larceny for allegedly swindling more than $400,000 from Graham's trust fund over a three- year period, Queens DA Richard Brown said. Pearlman, who was disbarred in 2006 on an unrelated matter, was named the trustee of Graham's estate for the purpose of dispersing the trust to his wife, Everilda.

After Graham's widow died, their son, who was not identified by the DA's office, was supposed to inherit the estate, but discovered that there were unauthorized withdrawals, a spokeswoman for Brown said.

The son soon alerted the authorities and a thorough investigation found that Pearlman, who maintained an office at 158-14 Northern Blvd., allegedly transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars from the trust to his own general business account and the escrow accounts of his clients, according to the DA's office.

The former attorney left the trust with a closing balance of $73.93, Brown said.

Pearlman's lawyer, Oona O'Flaherty, did not return calls for comment.

Pearlman was released on his own recognizance and was scheduled to return to court June 10. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in state prison, the DA said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

Posted 6:38 pm, October 10, 2011
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