Mitchell Kossoff Charged With Fraud for Allegedly Stealing Clients’ Escrow Funds

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Real estate lawyer Mitchell Kossoff, who pulled a vanishing act on his clients earlier this year, was charged with fraud for allegedly swiping $14 million of his clients’ escrow funds, Law360 first reported.

Kossoff, 64, surrendered to authorities on Friday and was charged with three counts of grand larceny and one count of scheme to defraud, according to the Manhattan district attorney. He plans to enter a guilty plea, according to court records.

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His lawyer, Walter Mack, declined to comment.

Kossoff represented New York City’s multifamily landlords and was known for his tough-guy approach, representing notorious landlord Steven Croman and working to negotiate tenant buyouts for rent-regulated units, The Real Deal reported.

In April, Kossoff went missing and his clients and partners in his eponymous law firm were unable to reach him for weeks. He was hit with a string of lawsuits for more than $8 million in missing escrow funds and his law firm was forced into bankruptcy. The DA later launched an investigation into Kossoff to see if he misused the funds.

Prosecutors said that Kossoff was sitting on millions in escrow, some given to him in 2017, but by April most of those accounts were wiped out, court records show.

The DA’s office filed a letter in bankruptcy court last week saying that Kossoff planned to enter a guilty plea and asking to extend the Chapter 11 case for his firm while the criminal proceedings shake out.

Nicholas Rizzi can be reached at nrizzi@commercialobserver.com.