A lawyer from Douglaston was arrested last week and charged with stealing $8,800 from a client in a real estate transaction, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
The defendant is alleged to have betrayed his clients trust as well as his professional duty to act honestly and ethically as a licensed attorney in the practice of law, Brown said in a news release March 19.
David Dindial, 39, was charged with grand larceny and issuing a bad check, the DAs office said, and faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.
Dindial was hired in June to represent an auto repair shop owner, Charles Ellis, in the purchase of a two-bedroom condominium worth $240,000 at 66-05 242nd St. when the alleged theft occurred, the DAs office said.
A call to Dindials office seeking comment was not returned.
Ellis gave Dindial a North Fork Bank check for $14,820 at Dindials office on June 28, 2002 to cover closing costs and other charges related to the condo purchase, the criminal complaint filed by the DAs office says.
Dindial deposited the check, which was made out to him, into an account under his name, the complaint says. At the closing on Aug. 28 the attorney wrote a check for $7,000 from the account to the title company to buy title insurance on behalf of his client, according to the document.
The attorney allegedly told his client at the closing that after all the expenses related to the deal were calculated, he would owe the client $1,800 from the initial payment of $14,820, according to the complaint.
But Dindial told his client after closing the condo purchase that the $7,000 check he had written to the title company, Victory Abstract LLC, had bounced, the complaint says. Dindial then asked his client to loan him another $7,000, which the attorney said he would pay back with interest, the complaint says.
Ellis said Dindial did not have his permission to use the $7,000 earmarked for the title company or the $1,800 overpayment for his personal use, according to the DA.
Dindial is a private-practice attorney who generally handles federal securities transactions out of an office in his home, the DAs office said.
He was released on his own recognizance after his arraignment in front of Justice Stephen Knopf at Queens Criminal Court in Kew Gardens, a spokeswoman for the DA said. He is due back in court April 2.
Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 1-718-229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2003 Community News Group
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