Lawyer Mitchell Kossoff Pleads Guilty to Stealing $15M From Clients
Real estate lawyer Mitchell Kossoff has pleaded guilty to stealing $14.6 million from dozens of his clients, the Manhattan district attorney announced Monday.
Kossoff pleaded guilty to three counts of grand larceny and scheming to defraud his clients after he used stolen funds to pay more than $19,000 a month in rent on a luxury apartment building, his personal credit card bills and what he owed other clients. He could face up to 13 years behind bars when he is sentenced in April 2022, District Attorney Cy Vance said.
“In order to finance his own business and lifestyle, Mitchell Kossoff stole huge sums of money that belonged to people who trusted him,” Vance said in a statement.
Kossoff’s lawyer, Walter Mack, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In the plea agreement, Kossoff admitted to defrauding multiple clients from 2017 to 2021, including more than $1 million from 118 Duane, an affiliate of United America Land which owns the five-story building at 118-120 Duane Street.
Kossoff was first sued by landlords alleging that he hadn’t returned funds from their escrow accounts earlier this spring and the DA later launched an investigation into the attorney, whose eponymous law firm is facing bankruptcy. He pulled a bit of a disappearing act in April, ghosting his clients for days, and had planned to plead guilty to the charges after he surrendered himself to authorities in late November.
Known for his tough-guy approach, Kossoff represented New York City’s multifamily landlords like Steven Croman, who plead guilty to tax fraud in 2017. He allegedly stole millions from two landlords alone, SSM Realty Group, which sued to get back $1.3 million in escrow funds, and 537 Associates, which filed a separate lawsuit for $2.6 million in escrow funds, CO reported.
Aside from swiping money from his clients, Kossoff also allegedly forged his mother’s signature on more than $2 million of defaulted loans, according to court records.
Celia Young can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.