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N.Y. real estate lawyer Kossoff to plead guilty, Manhattan DA says

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A sign is seen outside the U.S. District Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, New York, U.S., January 9, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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  • Prosecutors' letter to bankruptcy judge doesn't detail criminal charges
  • Mitchell Kossoff's firm forced into bankruptcy following civil claims he misappropriated client funds

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A New York real estate lawyer who has been accused by creditors of misusing client funds has reached a plea agreement with prosecutors and will surrender for arrest next month, the Manhattan district attorney's office told a federal bankruptcy judge on Tuesday.

In a letter to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge David Jones, prosecutors said they expect attorney Mitchell Kossoff to surrender on or about Dec. 3 and to enter a guilty plea a week later. The letter did not specify the criminal charges or include details about Kossoff's plea.

Kossoff PLLC was forced into bankruptcy in May after creditors claimed Kossoff, once a fixture in the New York real estate scene, misappropriated more than $8 million from the law firm's escrow accounts.

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A lawyer for Kossoff, Walter Mack, declined to comment. Mack has said Kossoff would cooperate in the bankruptcy proceedings if he is granted immunity from prosecution. Kossoff has not responded directly to his creditors' claims in bankruptcy court.

A representative for District Attorney Cyrus Vance's office declined to comment.

The DA's letter asked Jones to extend its deadline to respond to Al Togut, the Chapter 7 trustee overseeing the dissolution of Kossoff PLLC. Togut is seeking grand jury materials relating to prosecutors' investigation of Kossoff and asked Jones to force the district attorney to turn them over.

Once Kossoff has entered his guilty plea, the grand jury's investigation will be complete, rendering the dispute moot, prosecutors said. The office will seek a court order allowing materials to be shared with Togut, the letter added.

"We believe that allowing the criminal process to take its course will be the most efficient means of resolving these issues and will avoid unnecessary expenditure of resources," prosecutors said.

Togut has struggled for months to obtain documents he says he needs to administer the defunct law firm's estate. Togut said in an email Tuesday that he is still frustrated that he does not have access to the records prosecutors seized.

On Monday, Jones warned that he would issue a bench warrant for Kossoff's arrest if he did not comply with orders to turn over key documents to Togut by Nov. 30.

Read more:

Judge poised to jail N.Y. real estate lawyer over bankruptcy docs

Trustee wants N.Y. lawyer jailed for not cooperating in firm bankruptcy

Dewey & LeBoeuf bankruptcy vet tapped for Kossoff case

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Reporting by David Thomas

David Thomas reports on the business of law, including law firm strategy, hiring, mergers and litigation. He is based out of Chicago. He can be reached at d.thomas@thomsonreuters.com and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.

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