Stony Brook attorney indicted for stealing funds from clients

Stony Brook attorney indicted for stealing funds from clients

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Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney. Photo from Tierney's office

On Nov. 14 Suffolk District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney  announced the indictment of Douglas Valente who is charged with two counts of Grand Larceny for allegedly stealing more than $425,000 from two of his clients.  

 “This defendant allegedly breached his fiduciary duty to his clients by stealing money that was supposed to be held in trust in his attorney escrow account,” said DA Tierney. “As a result of an extensive investigation done by my office, the defendant will be held accountable for these deceitful actions.”  

Valente, 56, the principal attorney at the Valente Law Group based in Stony Brook is alleged to have stolen more than $425,000 from his attorney escrow account over a 6-month period in 2020. He is charged with two counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree.  

According to the investigation, between April 14, 2020 through May 31, 2020, Valente is alleged to have stolen $181,201.67 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 attorney in the matrimonial proceeding.   As a result, when his client’s divorce was finalized, she was unable to obtain the remaining proceeds from the sale of her house.  

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.   The defendant was supposed to send a portion of the proceeds of the refinanced mortgage to the prior mortgage company to pay off the existing mortgage and 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. 

Valente surrendered to the District Attorney’s Office this morning and he was arraigned by the Honorable Richard Ambro in County Court in Riverhead.   His offenses are considered non-bail eligible under New York State law, so he was ordered to surrender his passport released on his own recognizance.   Valente is being represented by John Carman, Esq. Valente is due back in court on December 14.

If you believe you have been victimized by Douglas Valente, please call the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office at (631) 853-5602.       

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Donna Planty of the Financial Crimes Bureau.