$500 Million Allegedly Stolen From Incapacitated, Vulnerable HV, NY Clients
A former Hudson Valley lawyer is accused of stealing nearly $500 million from incapacitated clients.
On Monday, New York Attorney General Letitia James and Acting New York State Police Superintendent Steven A. Nigrelli announced the indictment and arrest of a former attorney from Dutchess County, New York.
Dutchess County, New York Lawery Indicted
John Ferdinand Murphy, III, 68, of Hopewell Junction, New York was charged with allegedly embezzling more than $450,000 from multiple incapacitated and vulnerable clients.
Murphy was charged with three counts of second-degree grand larceny, two counts of third-degree grand larceny and one count of first-degree scheme to defraud, all felonies.
“Taking advantage of our vulnerable communities is disgraceful and absolutely unacceptable,” James said. “(Murphy) shamelessly embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from individuals that the law trusted him to protect."
Hopewell Junction, New York Man Accused Of Draining Accounts
After being appointed as a guardian and trustee for his clients, Murphy allegedly drained their trust accounts by issuing checks to himself, his company Samron Resources, and his own family members, officials say.
According to court filings and statements:
Murphy abused his position as an attorney over the course of nearly seven years by taking advantage of vulnerable and disabled people, including those for whom he was appointed to act as guardian or trustee. In his role as a court-appointed guardian and trustee for incapacitated individuals and their special needs trusts, Murphy allegedly issued more than $350,000 in checks for his own use.
Additionally, while acting as trustee for a family friend who is an 89-year-old retiree, Murphy stole more than $80,000 and failed to pay the victim’s tax and utility bills.
Murphy’s failure to pay the victim’s expenses caused her utilities to be shut off on multiple occasions, and even resulted in a foreclosure proceeding on her home. In an attempt to conceal the foreclosure, Murphy sought a seller for the home and collected a $10,000 down payment, which he then deposited into his own account. The home was never conveyed to the seller and Murphy did not return the down payment. However, with the assistance of the New York City Justice Center, the victim has been able to remain in her home.
The alleged crimes occurred between June 26, 2015, to December 29, 2021.
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“This individual selfishly used his position to take advantage of elderly, vulnerable, and unsuspecting New Yorkers and their families who put their trust in him to take care of their finances and loved ones," Nigrelli stated. "The New York State Police and our law enforcement partners will continue to put those like Mr. Murphy behind bars to protect innocent victims from being taken advantage of.”
Murphy was suspended from practicing law in August 2021 and disbarred in December 2021.