Monday, April 22, 2024


Westport Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Grand Larceny

By James Lomuscio

Westporter Stephen R. Krawitz, a New York personal injury lawyer charged with stealing more than $600,000 in settlements from more than a dozen of his firm’s clients, pleaded guilty on six counts in New York Supreme Court Wednesday, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. Image
Stephen Krawitz: to be sentenced Sept. 29. Westport Police photo

Krawitz, who was arrested at his Ludlow Road home in December (see WestportNow Dec. 12, 2014)  pleaded guilty to four counts of grand larceny in the second degree, two counts of scheme to defraud in the first degree, a spokeswoman for Vance said.

Judge Melissa Jackson promised him a sentence of four to 12 years, though Vance’s office had sought a five- to 15-year sentence, the spokeswoman said.

Krawitz, who has been held since his December arrest, is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept 29, at which time the court will also be issuing restitution judgment orders, she said. His bail had been set at $1 million. After pleading guilty, he was remanded until sentencing, according to court officials.

According to the Vance’s indictment and documents filed in court, Krawitz owned Stephen R. Krawitz, LLC, a personal-injury law practice at 271 Madison Ave, in Manhattan, and between Nov. 3, 2008, and March 12, 2014, he received and deposited settlement checks on behalf of 18 clients, totaling approximately $935,000.

Vance said Krawitz is accused of withholding all settlement money from 16 of those clients, and the two remaining clients received far less money than they were owed.

“While these alleged crimes were taking place, one of Stephen Krawitz’s clients died of cancer without ever receiving the full settlement money rightfully owed to him,” said Vance.

“The defendant in this case is accused of stealing from multiple victims who were seriously injured, including a 96-year-old great-grandmother who broke her shoulder after being hit by a car, and a 20-year-old Russian foreign exchange student hospitalized for three months and forced to undergo brain surgery following a car accident.

“Neglecting to conduct oneself in a manner befitting an officer of the court undermines the entire legal profession,” he added.

The Lawyer’s Fund is assisting with paying back ‎his former clients, according to a spokesperson.

Krawitz, who is not licensed to practice in Connecticut, was arrested by Trumbull police in August 2014 on charges of first-degree larceny and practicing law without a license.

He was accused of defrauding a Trumbull woman in a personal injury suit.

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