Raymond Perez, 68, New City, New York, was indicted and arrested for stealing $52,500 from a Bronx, New York, couple seeking to purchase property to be used as a church.
Raymond Perez is charged with one count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class “C” Felony, and one count of Practicing Law While Disbarred or Suspended, a misdemeanor.
The defendant was admitted to practice law in New York State in 1988 and disbarred in 1996. During the summer of 2006, Dexter Martinez, the pastor of a small Bronx congregation, and his wife, sought to purchase of property in the Bronx into which they planned to move their church.
Perez represented the seller of the property in contract negotiations during late 2006, helping the client obtain the necessary approvals for the sale from the City of New York. Mr. and Mrs. Martinez forwarded a $52,500 check to the defendant when they signed the contract.In June, 2009, after receiving approval from the City of New York for the completion of the transaction, the victims learned that Perez has been disbarred for nearly a decade.
Even Perez‘s own clients in the transaction were unaware that he had been stripped of his license to practice.
When confronted by the attorney for the victims, Perez walked away from the transaction with their money and deposited the funds into an account at a New City bank.
It was subsequently discovered that Perez had pleaded guilty to Practicing Law While Disbarred or Suspended in the Clarkstown Town Court in March, 2008.
The defendant was arraigned in County Court by Judge William K. Nelson and released on a $5,000 bail. Perez is due back in court on June 22, 2010.
The arrest is the result of an investigation by detectives from the District Attorney’s Office Special Investigations Unit.
Perez faces up to 15 years in state prison.
Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe announced the indictment.
District Attorney Zugibe said, “By portraying himself as a licensed attorney when he was no longer allowed to practice law, this defendant preyed upon trusting individuals in need of proper and qualified legal representation. My office will prosecute this case vigorously and swiftly to ensure that Mr. Perez never again has an opportunity to swindle anyone.”
The victims complained to the Grievance Committee for the Ninth Judicial District, the arm of the Courts that imposes discipline on attorneys, who subsequently referred the matter to the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office.