WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – A Bronxville attorney was arrested for allegedly stealing from his own clients’ escrow account and using the money to help fund his family’s extravagant lifestyle.
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said on Thursday that Timothy Griffin of Ridgefield, Conn., stole more than $1 million money from clients between April 2009 and February 2014, according to the criminal complaint filed by New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman
As a real-estate attorney, Griffin’s clients would give him money to be held in escrow for pending transactions. Instead of keeping the money in escrow, as required by law, Griffin allegedly transferred it to his personal bank account and then used that money to make payments on:a membership at Westchester’s Waccabuc Country Club, a BMW, a Lexus, expensive jewelry and other personal expenses.
The charges came to light following an investigation into the theft of nearly $2 million from the not-for-profit United Hebrew Cemetery in Staten Island. In late 2012, Griffin was asked to serve as the Acting President of the Cemetery after the previous president and his wife were found guilty of embezzling approximately $850,000. In his capacity as acting President, Griffin allegedly made six unauthorized wire transfers from the cemetery’s account to his own attorney escrow account totaling $1.9 million. Griffin was indicted earlier this year for felony Grand Larceny in that case.
Investigators with the Attorney General’s Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau believe that Griffin stole from the cemetery in order to reimburse the escrow account from which he’d been stealing his clients’ money for years.
Griffin was charged with seven counts of felony grand larceny. He was arraigned Friday in New Rochelle and if convicted, faces up to 25 years in prison.
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