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A former president of the Brooklyn Bar Association was recently disbarred and is now facing criminal charges due to his alleged theft of nearly $160k from two clients.
The disbarred attorney, a former trusts and estates practitioner, is alleged to have withheld the proceeds from the sale of homes related to the settlement of the clients' respective estates in 2015. One client was owed nearly $40k, while the other didn't get paid the $120k that was coming to them. As a result, he's now facing felony second- and third-degree grand larceny charges in Nassau County court.
The former BBA president, Gregory Hasterberg, allegedly ignored these two clients, despite their repeated attempts to contact him. The clients first filed complaints with the state bar association, which led to Hasterberg resigning from the bar in late 2016. He was eventually formally disbarred in mid-2017.
Though he faces serious felony charges and a maximum sentence of 5 to 15 years, he was still released on his own recognizance by the county judge. Shockingly, to this day, neither client has been paid what Hasterberg owed them.
Who among us hasn't been stopped at a social gathering with non-lawyers to be asked about some news story about a local (or prominent) attorney who did something really bad or stupid? (Special Thanks to Mr. Cohen and Mr. Giuliani).
For many lawyers, the fact that Hasterberg served as a bar association president nearly 30 years ago won't make this story surprising. After all, that sort of role is a potential first step into politics. However, for the public, this sort of news can be rather impactful on how attorneys, as a whole, are viewed, particularly because of his service to a bar association.
Making matters worse (for the public's view of attorneys, at least), Hasterberg's attorney refused to issue a comment on the matter to the press or explain whether there were any mitigating circumstances.
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