Robert D. Natal, 53, Portsmouth, Rhode Island, has been charged with eleven counts of Felony Unlawful Appropriation.
The complaint alleged that Natal received funds from real estate closings and failed to remit those funds to the seller or pay off mortgages as detailed on the HUD-1 settlement statement. While the investigation was ongoing, additional victims made complaints to the Chief Disciplinary Counsel and the Financial Crimes Unit, increasing the total amount Natal misappropriated to $1,136,013.77. The investigation revealed that during the nine-month time period when the closings occurred, February 26, 2008, through November 19, 2008, Natal transferred $252,705.00 from his escrow account to his law office operating account. Natal subsequently made hundreds of transactions utilizing the funds for personal use, including purchases at restaurants, clothing stores, grocery stores, and department stores; purchases of airline tickets and payments for other travel expenses; and cash withdrawals.
On January 22, 2010, Natal was arraigned at Sixth Division District Court on eleven (11) counts of Felony Unlawful Appropriation and released on $100,000.00 Personal Recognizance after signing a Waiver of Extradition and turning in his passport.
The arrest was the result of a complaint filed with the State Police Financial Crimes Unit by the Chief Disciplinary Counsel for the Rhode Island Supreme Court.