A young couple with two children has the collection law firm of Cohen & Slamowitz, LLP of Woodbury, NY to thank for prevailing on their behalf in recovering stolen monies stemming from an extensive mortgage fraud and real estate scheme. Partner David A. Cohen, Esq. oversaw the couple’s pro bono representation.
Cohen explained, “Like most attorneys, when an injustice is brought to our attention and where no conflict of interest exists, we step in to lend a hand. Since we specialize in recovering money that is owed to our creditor clients, we felt our firm was particularly well-qualified to assist this couple in a pro bono case.”
The couple was among the victims defrauded in a $100 million mortgage fraud and real estate scam involving 13 defendants along with a mortgage origination company, AFG Financial Group, Inc. (Garden City, NY). In the case, People v. AFG Financial Group, Inc. et al. the couple’s real estate attorney, along with at least 12 other defendants, was indicted for perpetrating a fraud conducted over a four-year period in the New York City-metropolitan area. As part of the fraud, then attorneys Marc A. Zirogiannis and Fred Lax, “represented” the banks, betraying their clients and causing their clients’ funds to be stolen. They also ran title companies that were used as part of the real estate scheme. The fraud was uncovered and the indictments made following a ten-month investigation. The couple had retained Mr. Zirogiannis to represent them in the sale of their home and it was due to his fraud that their down payment was lost.
Cohen’s first measure was to preserve the couple’s rights by appearing in the action entitled Bank of America, N. A. v. Marc A. Zirogiannis, et al (New York State Supreme Court, County of New York, Index Number 602717/09) an action brought by Mr. Zirogiannis’ bank to distribute funds held in his bank account to his victims.
“When it became apparent to our firm that Bank of America did not have enough funds on hand to satisfy the outstanding claims, we had to seek another avenue of redress for the couple, so we assisted them in processing an application to The Lawyer’s Fund for Client Protection and directed them to file a police report,” continued Cohen. “We then acted as a liaison between them and the Fund’s attorney.” In doing so, Cohen & Slamowitz, LLP was able to recover $19,000 on behalf of the couple.
The couple’s attorney, Marc A. Zirogiannis, was indicted for Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class B felony. On November 24, 2009, he pled guilty to one count of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree and was automatically disbarred.
Cohen earned his Bachelor of Arts from Brooklyn College of the City of New York, graduating magna cum laude. He received his Juris Doctor with honors from Brooklyn Law School. He was admitted to the New York Bar in 1980; the U.S. District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York; 1986, U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. District Court, Northern and Western Districts of New York; 2000, U.S. Supreme Court.
For additional information, contact: Cohen & Slamowitz, LLP, 516-677-8839.