U.S. News

NY lawyer charged with stealing from palsy victims

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York lawyer appointed to oversee the assets of incapacitated clients, including children with cerebral palsy, pocketed $4 million for his own use, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office alleged on Wednesday.

Steven Rondos, 44, and his law firm, Raia and Rondos, are charged with money laundering, grand larceny and scheming to defraud. He is accused of defrauding 23 incapacitated clients plus the estate of one dead person.

Rondos was appointed by New York judges to manage and distribute monetary settlements for clients who were found to suffer from cerebral palsy due to medical malpractice at birth, and to manage money for elderly clients with mental or physical impairments.

But prosecutors allege Rondos spent the money on mortgage payments for his New Jersey home and on “extensive home renovations, including landscaping, kitchen renovations, and a home theater.”

Rondos was not immediately available for comment.

He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted. Prosecutors are also suing Rondos and his wife, Camille Raia, a partner in his law firm, for asset forfeiture.

Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Daniel Trotta