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An empty courtroom is seen at the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., August 21, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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  • Kossoff pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and three counts of grand larceny
  • Kossoff must also repay more than $14 million

(Reuters) - Mitchell Kossoff, the prominent New York real estate attorney accused of emptying more than $14.6 million out of accounts holding clients' money, was sentenced in Manhattan state court Friday to between 4.5 and 13.5 years in prison.

The Manhattan district attorney's office confirmed the sentence and said Kossoff, 68, who was charged and pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and three counts of grand larceny, must repay the more than $14.6 million he took.

Kossoff's lawyer called the sentence "just" and said Kossoff told the court he will dedicate his remaining life to remedying damage caused by his behavior.

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His sentence was in line with the recommendation in his December 2021 plea agreement.

According to prosecutors, from 2017 to 2021, Kossoff stole escrow funds from at least 35 of the clients from his now-shuttered law firm Kossoff PLLC.

Prosecutors said Kossoff often used money from one client to pay off another.

He allegedly emptied $2.425 million in funds that belonged to client 118 Duane LLC, $241,966 that belonged to Ambassador Hotel LLC and all but $56,584 in escrow funds belonging to Irwin Ostrega.

His firm, which was forced into bankruptcy in May 2021, owes more than $28 million to its former clients and other creditors. Those bankruptcy proceedings are ongoing.

Kossoff was disbarred in March of this year and he has also surrendered a condominium in Highlands, New Jersey, according to the Manhattan district attorney's office.

"His actions betray the standards that we as lawyers are taught from the very beginning of our careers and will not be tolerated,” said District Attorney Alvin Bragg in a statement Friday.

The case is New York v. Mitchell Kossoff, New York Supreme Court, No. SCI-71214-21.

For New York: Assistant District Attorneys Ryan Gee and Catherine McCaw

For Kossoff: Walter Mack of Doar Rieck Kaley Mack

Read More:

Guilty plea could speed trustee's work in Kossoff law firm bankruptcy

N.Y. real estate lawyer stole millions from clients, Manhattan D.A. charges

Embattled real estate lawyer Kossoff battles trustee over records

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Chinekwu Osakwe

Thomson Reuters

Chinekwu Osakwe covers legal industry news with a focus on midsize law firms. Reach her at Chinekwu.osakwe@thomsonreuters.com.