Disbarred Brooklyn lawyer charged with stealing down payment on home
An East Flatbush man has been indicted by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office on a grand larceny charge for allegedly stealing the down payment for the purchase of a Brownsville home whose seller he represented. The defendant also allegedly separately borrowed $14,000 from the client and never paid it back.
Gonzalez identified the defendant as Gerald Douglas, 52, of East Flatbush. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Sharen Hudson on an indictment in which he is charged with second-degree grand larceny. He was released without bail and ordered to return to court on May 12, 2021.
According to the DA’s Office, the defendant represented a 76-year-old woman in the sale of her Brownsville home, negotiating the contract for her in September 2018. A down payment of $71,700 was allegedly deposited into the defendant’s escrow account.
The closing occurred in August 2019, by which time the defendant had allegedly stopped returning his client’s phone calls, and she was forced to retain new counsel to close the transaction. The client received the sale proceeds at the closing but not the down payment, despite repeated requests to the defendant, according to the charges.
It is further alleged that in June and July 2018, Douglas asked the same client if she would loan him money, first $6,000 and then $8,000. He allegedly told her he was expecting a rental payment for a property he owned in Flatbush, although in fact the property had gone into foreclosure five years earlier and he was no longer the owner.
Gonzalez commented, “The victim in this case was allegedly defrauded of a large sum of money by her own attorney, who had a legal duty to protect her interests. I would like to thank my Public Integrity Bureau for its hard work in seeking to hold the defendant accountable for his alleged criminal act and betrayal of trust.”
Douglas was disbarred by the Appellate Division Second Department in 2019.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Adam Libove of the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Laura Neubauer, bureau chief, and Assistant District Attorney Michel Spanakos, deputy chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.
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