Lawyer Sentenced in Embezzlement Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 22, 2010|
ATLANTA—STEVEN ZAGORIA, 59, of Marietta, Georgia, was sentenced today to federal prison by United States District Judge Marvin Shoob on charges of bank fraud relating to an embezzlement scheme.
United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, "An attorney has an obligation to put his clients' best interests before his own. Instead, this defendant betrayed this trust by stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from not only his clients but his partners. Because of that behavior he is no longer a lawyer and is about to become an inmate in a federal prison."
ZAGORIA was sentenced to one year and nine months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release, was and was ordered to pay a special assessment of $4,000. He was also ordered to pay $318,000 in restitution to the victims of his crimes. ZAGORIA pleaded guilty to the charges on September 16, 2010.
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: From 2005 until his conduct was discovered in 2008, ZAGORIA embezzled funds from the law firm that employed him. At least once a week, he would forge the signature of one of the firm's principals on checks payable to the firm for attorneys' fees and deposit the checks into his personal account. During the life of the scheme, he stole $343,639, using the funds to pay his mortgage, credit card bills, and college tuition for his child. He also gave some of the funds to his wife for the purchase of a second home. The scheme was eventually discovered when the firm audited its records and noted the missing money. The firm terminated ZAGORIA for the fraud and subsequently referred him to the State Bar of Georgia. Earlier this year, the State Supreme Court disbarred him for his criminal conduct.
This case was investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney Kurt R. Erskine prosecuted the case.
For further information please contact Sally Q. Yates, United States Attorney, or Charysse L. Alexander, Executive Assistant United States Attorney, through Patrick Crosby, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Attorney's Office, at (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.