Craig Heller, 49, has been charged with for Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. He was due back in court June 25, 2009.
Heller, acting as escrow agent, was hired in November 2007 to remit a settlement check for more than $82,000 to the partial owner of a piece of Brooklyn property that was sold. The closing took place on April 18, 2008, but Heller never gave the victim a check. He was ordered to pay the amount on Dec. 18, 2008, but failed to do so. Heller promised numerous times to pay his victim.
In a separate incident, in June 2007, Heller was allegedly hired by a divorced couple to manage their debt consolidation. The ex-husband and ex-wife each put $10,000 into an escrow account for Heller to pay their bills. Each party also agreed to pay Heller a $2,500 fee for his services. Heller soon received complaints from the ex-wife after she realized he was not paying off their debts. As in the other case, Heller agreed to repay both the $20,000 with interest and a portion of the attorney’s fee on Dec. 31, 2008. The money, however, was never repaid.
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced the charges.
“Instead of performing the task he was hired for, this attorney robbed his victims blind,” Rice said. “Attorneys are in positions of trust, and wearing a suit and tie while you steal doesn’t make it any less egregious.”
Assistant District Attorney Megan Gallagher of the DA’s Government & Consumer Frauds Bureau is handling the case for the District Attorney’s Office. The defendant is represented by Joseph Megale, Esq.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.