A lawyer pleaded guilty to stealing more than $20 million from a bank and at least one client, spending the loot on vacation homes, a wedding and generous salaries for his employees, authorities said.
Under a deal with prosecutors, Anthony Bellettieri, 53, faces more than a decade in prison after admitting Thursday in federal court to bank and mail fraud dating to at least 2003.
Bellettieri, a real estate lawyer, stole the funds through check kiting – taking money from his law firm’s escrow account and writing checks on another account to cover the escrow account’s losses.
Authorities said Bellettieri also convinced a client to invest almost $2 million in phony private mortgages.
Defense lawyer Murray Richman told The Journal News, “It’s a terrible thing to see a man destroyed and humbled by his own actions and lose control of his life.”