By John Maher
Oceanside resident Nathan Levner, 55, a former real estate attorney who pleaded guilty last November to stealing $10,000 from a couple he was representing, was sentenced to 200 hours of community service on Jan. 29 by Nassau County Court Judge Tammy Robbins. Levner will also pay $325 in fees. He previously paid $10,000 in restitution to the couple.
According to District Attorney Kathleen Rice, the couple hired Levner in July 2011 to represent them in the sale of their home and the purchase of a new one. At the closing, the couple deposited $10,000 into Levner’s account, to be held in escrow until they moved out of their home.
However, prior to the purchase of their new home, Levner failed to return any of the couple’s phone calls, and didn’t return the money. The victims vacated their former home on Aug. 1, 2011, and were forced to hire a new attorney at the closing of the new home they were purchasing.
On Sept. 9, 2011, the new attorney sent Levner a letter requesting that he return the money, but he never responded. He was suspended from practicing law in June 2012, after admitting that he had used the money to make a personal investment. Six months later, he was disbarred.
“Real estate attorneys are trusted with our finances and have access to very sensitive personal information, so it’s especially disturbing when one is found to be stealing from his clients,” Rice said in a press release. “My office is committed to rooting out white-collar criminals who use their positions of trust and authority to swindle innocent people, and I encourage anyone who thinks they may have been the victim of a crime to contact my office immediately.”