Disbarred Lawyer Sentenced for Corrupt Real Estate Transactions
Defendant Stole Money from Escrow Account
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 21, 2013|
ATLANTA—Neal Landers, 46, of Duluth, Georgia, was sentenced today to two years and three months in prison for using funds taken from real estate transactions he oversaw for his personal use.
“Landers violated the law and the trust of his clients when he used his firm’s escrow account as his own personal piggy bank,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.
“The FBI worked diligently in building a solid criminal investigation in this matter and hopes that those victimized by Mr. Landers’ egregious breach of trust can take some solace in today’s sentencing,” said Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office.
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court, beginning in 2007, Landers exploited his position as a real estate closing attorney by misappropriating the funds from real estate closings. Specifically, Landers received money transfers into his escrow account from several real estate closings but did not distribute them as required. He deliberately delayed paying out the funds for weeks and sometimes months rather than promptly disbursing the funds for the recently closed properties. Instead, Landers would use those funds to pay out the parties from previously completed transactions. He also transferred funds, in amounts that far exceeded any closing fees and/or costs, from his escrow account to his business checking account. He then used that money to pay various personal expenses.
United States District Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr. sentenced Landers to two years, three months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay more than $850,000 in restitution.
The Georgia Bar disbarred Landers in 2008.
This case was investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey W. Davis prosecuted the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Information Office at USAGAN.Pressemails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.