Brooklyn attorney settles fraud claims with attorney general

By Bryan Cohen | Apr 25, 2014

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a settlement on Wednesday with a Brooklyn attorney and his law firm to resolve allegations of facilitating fraud in condominium sales.

Harold Gruber Esq. and Harold L. Gruber PC, Gruber's law firm, allegedly submitted at least nine fraudulent filings to Schneiderman's Real Estate Finance Bureau. Gruber also allegedly breached his fiduciary duties as an escrow agent.

"There's no place in New York for attorneys who commit fraud," Schneiderman said. "It's our job to protect homebuyers, and that means stopping real estate developers - and anyone else - from committing fraud while taking part in real estate transactions."

Gruber allegedly engaged in the illegal notarization of documents for submission to the bureau in connection with legally required offering plans. He also allegedly released the down payments of property buyers to his real estate developer clients from an escrow account, in violation of his fiduciary duties to the purchasers and in violation of the Martin Act.

Under the terms of the settlement, Gruber and his firm are permanently barred from engaging in any act related to the offer or sale of securities in or from New York, including condominium units and cooperative apartments. Gruber also agreed to pay $60,000 in fines.

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