Michael P. Rumore, 50, who ran his law practice from the basement of his Lyndhurst, New Jersey, home pleaded guilty to stealing approximately $4 million entrusted to him for real estate closings, which he used to gamble in Atlantic City. Rumore entered his plea before Superior Court Judge Harry G. Carroll in Bergen County to first-degree money laundering and second-degree theft by failure to make required disposition of property received. Those charges were contained in an accusation filed by the Division of Criminal Justice Major Crimes Bureau.
Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Rumore be sentenced to 15 years in state prison. He must sign a consent judgment to pay full restitution to the victims, which are various title insurance companies. Judge Carroll scheduled Rumore’s sentencing for April 17, 2009.
“This defendant betrayed the oath he took as an attorney, exploiting his position as a fiduciary by stealing approximately $4 million entrusted to him for various real estate closings,” said Attorney General Anne Milgram.
Rumore was hired as an attorney and settlement agent for real estate purchasers. Between April 16, 2007 and August 13, 2008, he received approximately $4 million into his attorney trust account from various mortgage companies. He had a duty to disburse the funds for closings and use them to pay balances on existing mortgages and other associated costs and fees. In pleading guilty, Rumore admitted that he instead transferred the funds into his personal and business accounts and used them to gamble at casinos in Atlantic City, primarily on slot machines.
Based on his conduct, Rumore surrendered his license to practice law in the state on Sept. 4, 2008 and was disbarred by the Office of Attorney Ethics on Sept. 11, 2008. Attorney General Milgram thanked the Office of Attorney Ethics within the New Jersey Judiciary for its assistance in the case.
Detective John Neggia conducted the investigation for the Division of Criminal Justice Major Crimes Bureau. Deputy Attorney General Francine Ehrenberg prosecuted the case and took the guilty plea.