By Benyamin Davidsons
The hearing took place for an esteemed real estate lawyer, who allegedly ran off with millions of dollars in customer’s funds from an escrow account.
On Friday, attorney Mitchell “Mitch” Kossoff appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court on charges of grand larceny after he allegedly vanished in April with roughly $14 million in funds, which he was supposed to be holding for clients. As reported by the NY Post, Kossoff,64, turned himself in to authorities and is expected to take a plea deal next week.
The attorney for namesake firm Kossoff PLLC “stole in excess of $14 million from his attorney escrow accounts through a scheme that lasted more than four years,” said Assistant District Attorney Ryan Gee, addressing the judge. Gee asked the court to have Kossoff put on supervised release, forcing him to turn over his passport and limiting him to travel only in New York. The judge accepted, releasing Kossoff without bail and setting the travel restrictions.
Should Kossoff be convicted after trial, he could face a sentence of 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison. Gee said, he has instead reached a plea deal with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, which Kossoff is expected to accept at his next court date on Dec. 9.
Kossoff’s law firm was forced into bankruptcy proceedings in May, after his clients filed lawsuits against him over the alleged stolen money. In his prime, the lawyer had represented some of New York City’s biggest multifamily landlords. In June, a judge had denied the wayward lawyer’s request to protect his fifth amendment right, and halt any subpoenas against him which would force him to testify. Kossoff disappeared in April amid the string of civil lawsuits from his clients. Since then, he has appeared in multiple instances through his counsel.
Counsel for Kossoff had repeatedly said that he is not a fugitive, and will subject himself to the jurisdiction of the courts, once he is granted immunity from prosecution. As per Reuters, the lawsuits include allegations that Kossoff failed to repay hefty cash advance loans. Kossoff was also accused by his mother, philanthropist Phyllis Kossoff, of forging her signature “in order to obtain millions of dollars.”
Kossof’s criminal defense lawyer did not immediately return a request for comment by the Post.