A Huntington lawyer who practices in Nassau County was ararigned Wednesday on one count of grand larceny, the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office said.
Sean O’Leary, 64, pleaded not guilty and was released on his own recognizance. He is due back in court next week on the felony second-degree grand larceny charge.
District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly said that the lawyer stole $60,000 from a woman he represented in a personal injury claim in January 2021.
“This defendant allegedly exploited his client at a vulnerable time, stealing tens of thousands of dollars that she received to settle a personal injury claim after a car accident,” Donnelly said. “Navigating the difficult process of making an injury-related claim is eased for many by hiring a personal injury attorney. Clients should never have to worry that the attorney they hire may violate their trust and deceive them.”
Donnelly said that according to the charges, the victim was injured in a car accident in May 2018 and hired the defendant to represent her as her attorney in a personal injury claim. The defendant’s company is titled Sean O’Leary & Associates, PLLC, and was situated in Lake Success.
The defendant negotiated a settlement with the other driver’s insurance company, and in January 2021, the defendant had the victim sign a release allowing a $90,000 settlement check to be issued to the defendant. The defendant was to keep $30,000, representing one-third of the settlement, as a legal fee, and forward the remaining funds to the victim, the DA’s office said.
The investigation showed that none of the funds were forwarded to the victim, despite multiple requests by the victim. Instead, the defendant allegedly withdrew the funds from his account through domestic wires, checks written out to himself, and other withdrawals, the office said.
He was disbarred by the Second Department on April 20, 2022.
If convicted, the defendant faces up to five to 15 years in prison.