A disbarred Fort Lauderdale attorney pleaded guilty to a mail fraud charge, admitting he ripped off clients of more than $2.4 million. Joseph Sindaco, who practiced law in South Florida for three decades, stole from four clients' trust funds and used the money to pay personal expenses. He had specialized in estate and trust cases and real estate closings.
Sindaco, 63, now faces up to 20 years in federal prison when sentenced Feb. 24 by U.S. District Judge James I. Cohn. The recommended federal sentencing guidelines call for Sindaco to serve a prison term of at least 41 months, according to his plea agreement. In addition, he agreed to pay $2.4 million in restitution to his four victims. One of them lost $1.8 million.
Sindaco cut a deal in August with the Florida Bar to surrender his law license and be disbarred for five years. He admitted during those proceedings he misappropriated about $445,000 from two clients. The mail fraud charge against Sindaco arose from his handling of the estate of Werner Clauss, an 82-year-old who died at a Lauderdale Lakes nursing home in 2008. Sindaco liquidated Clauss' investment account and transferred the money to his law firm's trust account, according to federal court records.
Full Article and Source:
Disbarred Lawyer Cops Plea in $2.4M + Client/Trust Escrow Funds Swindle; Admits Snatching Closing Cash Meant for Loan Payoffs; Ripping off Dead Client