Stony Brook attorney indicted a second time for allegedly stealing from third client
Suffolk District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney announced a second indictment of Douglas Valente, 56, who is charged with one additional count of Grand Larceny for allegedly stealing nearly $400,000 from a third client. Valente was previously indicted in November 2022 with two counts of Grand Larceny for allegedly stealing more than $425,000 from two other clients.
“This defendant is now alleged to have stolen close to a million dollars from three of his clients over a two-and-a-half-year period,” said District Attorney Tierney. “Attorneys have a duty to act in the best interests of their clients. Not only did this defendant allegedly violate that duty, he also stole from them, and this will not be tolerated.”
According to the second indictment, between May 14, 2021 and September 30, 2022, Valente, the former principal attorney at the Valente Law Group based in Stony Brook, is alleged to have stolen almost $400,000 from a client who had sold a home due to a pending divorce proceeding. Valente represented the client in the sale of the home, and he was to hold the proceeds of the sale in his escrow account to be dispersed when the divorce was finalized. Instead, Valente allegedly used the funds for business and personal expenses.
In the first indictment, between April 14, 2020 and May 31, 2020, Valente is alleged to have stolen over $181,000 from a 78-year-old client. Valente represented the elderly woman in the sale of her home and the proceeds of the sale were put into Valente’s escrow account. Valente was required to send half of the proceeds to his client and the other half was to be sent to her matrimonial attorney to be held in escrow until her divorce was finalized. Although Valente did send half of the proceeds to his client, he allegedly failed to send the remaining half of the proceeds to her matrimonial attorney. As a result, when his client’s divorce was finalized, she was unable to obtain the remaining proceeds from the sale of her home.
During the time period of September 28, 2020 through October 13, 2020, Valente is alleged to have stolen $248,027.84 from Guaranteed Rate Inc., a mortgage lender. Valente was the attorney and settlement agent for Guaranteed Rate Inc. in a refinance transaction. Guaranteed Rate Inc. wired money to Valente’s escrow account to be dispersed in the transaction. Valente was supposed to send a portion of the proceeds of the refinanced mortgage to the prior mortgage company to pay off the existing mortgage, but he allegedly failed to do so. Because of this, Guaranteed Rate Inc. had to pay off the existing mortgage in the amount of $248,027.84. Valente allegedly used the funds belonging to both clients on his own personal and business expenses.
On May 18, 2022, the New York State Grievance Committee for the Tenth Judicial District disbarred Valente, making him ineligible to practice law in New York State. Valente is currently residing in Boca Raton, Florida. Valente surrendered to the District Attorney’s Office on Feb. 3. His new offense is considered non-bail eligible under New York State law, so he was released on his own recognizance. Valente had previously surrendered his passport at his arraignment on the first indictment.
If you believe you have been victimized by Douglas Valente, please call the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office at (631) 853-5602.
Criminal complaints and indictments are merely accusatory instruments. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. No one is above the law.