Broward Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Stealing More than $2 Million from Trust Funds
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 16, 2010|
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Henry Gutierrez, Postal Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Miami Field Office, John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and J. Thomas Cardwell, Commissioner, State of Florida Office of Financial Regulation, announced that defendant Joseph Sindaco, 63, an attorney from Fort Lauderdale, pled guilty today to a criminal information charging him in one count of mail fraud involving the theft of clients monies from his trust account.
Sentencing is scheduled for February 24, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. before U.S. District Court Judge James Cohn in Fort Lauderdale. Sindaco faces a maximum statutory sentence of up to 20 years in prison and fine of up to $250,000.
According to the criminal information and statements made in court during today’s plea hearing, Sindaco practiced law from 2006 through December 2009 in Fort Lauderdale. As an attorney, he handled real estate closings for clients, mortgage lenders and estate transactions. In this capacity, Sindaco misappropriated approximately $2,4443,857 of funds that were supposed to be used to pay off prior loans and also clients’ funds from his law firm’s trust account. Instead of using the money as directed, however, Sindaco stole the money and sent letters to clients falsely stating that he was holding their money or disbursing it according to their directions.
As part of the plea agreement, Sindaco agreed to make mandatory restitution of the $2,443,857 to the client victims. Sindaco was permanently disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court on April 29, 2010.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, FBI, and the State of Florida Office of Financial Regulation. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey H. Kay.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.