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Prominent Westchester GOP Attorney Indicted on Fraud And False Statement Charges in Federal Embezzlement Case

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Prominent Westchester GOP Attorney Indicted on Fraud And False Statement Charges in Federal Embezzlement Case

August 21, 2018 - 15:31
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WHITE PLAINS, NY -- A federal grand jury in White Plains returned an Indictment yesterday charging Westchester Republican County Committee Law Chairman Guy Parisi with conspiracy, mail fraud and false statements.

Parisi, a lawyer who according to his website, specializes in liquor licenses and serves as counsel to the Westchester County Republican Party, has been a judge in the New York State court system, was a commissioner on the New York City Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Empire State College SUNY, Pace University’s Lubin School of Business, and Marymount Manhattan College.

The charges arise from Parisi’s attempt to embezzle funds from a decedent’s estate for which he served as a court-appointed administrator, says Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Parisi was arrested yesterday morning and was presented before the United States District Judge Paul E. Davison.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Guy Parisi, a Westchester attorney, allegedly embezzled funds from an estate which he was a court-appointed fiduciary. Parisi allegedly shirked his responsibilities to the estate in order to serve his own greed. Now he faces justice in a criminal court.”

“Mr. Parisi allegedly took advantage of the trust given to him by his client, when instead of doing the right thing, he created a company to greedily enrich himself of fees he would not lawfully be entitled to receive,” said Peter R. Rendina, Inspector-in-Charge of the New York Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. “Postal Inspectors and their law enforcement partners uphold the truth and those who do not must face justice.”

“Instead of protecting the interests of the estate, Mr. Parisi abused the trust placed in him by allegedly attempting to pocket millions of dollars meant for the beneficiaries by using a fictitious company,” said New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. “Thanks to my ongoing partnerships with United States Attorney Geoffrey Berman and the United States Postal Inspection Service, he will now be held accountable for his actions. My office will continue to work with law enforcement across the State to protect unclaimed funds in our custody.”

According to the allegations contained in the Indictment:

Parisi, an attorney in Westchester County, was appointed administrator of the estate of a former resident of Mt. Vernon, in or about April 2017. His duties as administrator included collecting the assets of the estate. As an administrator, Parisi had a fiduciary duty to the estate and to the decedent’s son, the sole beneficiary of his father’s will.  New York law provided for a fee for estate administrators like Parisi based on a percentage of the value of the estate’s assets.

A substantial part of the estate’s assets escheated to the State of New York as abandoned property between 2000 and 2008, when the estate was first presented to the Surrogate’s Court.  These assets were held in the custody of the New York State Comptroller.

In or about June 2017, Parisi, on behalf of the estate, retained Stokes Asset Recovery Services as the estate’s abandoned property location service in exchange for a fee of fifteen percent of the value of the estate’s assets held by the Comptroller, which is the maximum fee allowed by New York law.  Parisi did not disclose, and actively concealed, that Stokes was owned by his relative, and that he and the relative had formed Stokes less than two weeks before he notified the Comptroller of his retention of Stokes, as he was required to do under New York law.  Parisi and the relative named Stokes after a Southampton, New York, street on which Parisi owned a waterfront vacation home.  At the time he retained Stokes, Parisi knew that the estate’s assets held by the Comptroller were worth several million dollars.

Parisi was interviewed by a Postal Inspector in or about November 2017.  He falsely told the Postal Inspector that he had worked with Stokes in the past and that Stokes’s fee was five percent of the value of the assets held by the Comptroller.

Parisi, 71, of Rye, New York, is charged with one count of conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; one count of mail fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and one count of making a false statement, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.  The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as the sentence will be determined by the court.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the Postal Inspection Service and the New York State Comptroller. 

This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division.  Assistant United States Attorney James McMahon is in charge of the prosecution.