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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Disbarred NY Lawyer Faces NJ Charges of Forging Client's Authorization

Lawyer on the Ropes for Faking Client's Settlement Authorization, Keeping Funds
The New Jersey Law Journal by Mary Pat Gallagher  -  April 17, 2012

A lawyer already disbarred in New York for taking client funds and facing similar ethics charges in New Jersey has been hit with a $2.5 million judgment for settling a personal injury case without authority and keeping part of the proceeds.  The lawyer, Jeffrey Squitieri, has moved to vacate the judgment, entered March 19 by Bergen County Superior Court Judge Charles Powers Jr.  According to the suit, Henao v. Squitieri, BER-L-11400-10, Squitieri was hired to handle a personal injury case for Guillermo Henao, who allegedly suffered severe closed-head injury and multiple fractures when he was hit by a BMW in front of his Englewood apartment building on Nov. 1, 2009. While Henao was hospitalized and comatose, his 24-year-old son Victor signed his father's name to the retainer agreement without authority to do so. Around December 2009, with Henao recently out of his coma, Squitieri got Victor to sign a release settling the case for the driver's $100,000 policy limit and falsely certified that he saw Henao sign.  The family thought Victor was signing for medical coverage, says Henao's present lawyer, Trenton solo Patrick Whalen. Henao allegedly could not have signed the release because he was mentally incompetent at the time and unable to speak or read English, and no interpreter was present. Squitieri then allegedly kept $88,000 of the settlement proceeds, paying the other $12,000 to Care One of Wellington, where Henao spent a month in rehabilitation.  Squitieri "was in such a rush to get a hold of these settlement funds" because he was under investigation and facing disbarment in New York, where he kept his primary office, and needed money to defend the charges, the suit charges.  Squitieri also allegedly failed to pursue about $250,000 in PIP benefits from Henao's own carrier. That, combined with the theft of the settlement monies, left the family unable to pay for Henao's care, put a premature end to his in-patient rehabilitation and exposed him to a collection suit by Care One and to possible eviction due to the inability to pay rent, according to Whalen.  When the family hired Whalen, he demanded that Squitieri turn over the rest of the money and the case file but never received either.  The family sued Squitieri and his solo firm in November 2010, alleging malpractice, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress and other claims.  They also filed an order to show cause for an injunction freezing Squitieri's bank accounts and other assets. Superior Court Judge Robert Polifroni granted the request on Jan. 18, 2011, and required Squitieri to disclose any malpractice insurance covering the claims.  Polifroni also gave Squitieri until Jan. 21, 2011, to turn over the rest of the settlement money to his lawyer, Gregory Irwin of Harwood Lloyd in Hackensack, to be held in the firm's trust account, and to surrender the Henao case file and all relevant trust account records. Squitieri failed to comply, leading Whalen to seek a default and then a final default judgment, signed by Powers on March 19. The $2,578,200 judgment consists of $328,200 for economic damages, $750,000 for pain and suffering and $1.5 million in punitive damages. Squitieri moved to vacate the judgment on April 11, on the ground that Henao was out of the coma and able to authorize the settlement.  That same day, the plaintiffs filed a motion to add Squitieri's father, Generoso, to the case as a defendant, on the ground that he allowed his son to use his Fort Lee office for client meetings and for dropping off papers.  "You let somebody operate out of your firm that clearly should not be handling other people's money," Whalen says of Generoso Squitieri.  Both motions are scheduled to be heard April 27.  Neither Squitieri could be reached for comment.  Irwin, who stopped representing Squitieri before the default hearing, did not return a call. Whalen says Irwin told him Squitieri had no malpractice coverage for the case. The accounts frozen by Polifroni had already been closed, Whalen adds.

9 comments:

...watching in New Jersey said...

If they want to know where Jeff hid the money they only need look into- and subpoena- Jeff's immediate family (mom/dad/sister). A whole bunch of lawyers who think they know how to hide the money.....

Anonymous said...

Here's what Jeff Squitieri was facing in NY but he got a pass on a few of the charges:

The Committee served Squitieri with a notice and statement of nine charges, alleging, inter alia, that respondent commingled and misappropriated client funds in violation of Code of Professional Responsibility DR 9-102 (a) (22 NYCRR 1200.46 [a]) (count one); that by intentionally converting funds from his escrow account at Chase Bank for his own use, respondent engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation in violation DR 1-102 (a) (4) (22 NYCRR 1200.3 [a] [4]) (count two); and that based on all of the foregoing misconduct, respondent engaged in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice as a lawyer in violation of DR 1-102 (a) (7) (22 NYCRR 1200.3 [a] [7]) (count nine).

Anonymous said...

In New York, County of Suffolk. My former husband. Who has filing access & access to fannie& freddie also MERS.
Stole the proceeeds from myself& our then 8 years old son. Hon. Baisley Suff.Sup.Ct. This goes way back to 1988.
It was a med. malptactice suit based on Dr.Error. Which caused fetal destress. When our sons umbilical prolapsed.Becoming compressed btw my pelvic bone & the babies head during contractions.
He did this by using his filing access State of NY. Creating a fraudulent marriage license dated 07/02/88. Town of Brookhaven has it on record.
He then took that license to Soc.Sec. Took out a 2nd Soc.Sec. # on me. Acquiring 2nd #s for our kids.
To this moment. New york has refused me access to any info that could help us. Find out our original identities.
and the harrassment that we have endured..to this day also. By SCPD, SCSD,Judges, Clerks. Is a like hell on earth.
The attorney was eichenbaum & Silverstein. In GreatNeck, NY.
I knew the suit was filed. Never knew it settled. Until I began researching the humungous amt. of mortgage fraud perpetrated by my ex. Mostly for himself & Suffolk County officials. Judges, Clerks,lawyers etc. (got me a few dozen times).
One bad apple theory ruining the whole bunch. Is true. Suffolk recordings have zero authenticity.
FRIGHTENING!

Anonymous said...

In New York, County of Suffolk. My former husband. Who has filing access & access to fannie& freddie also MERS.
Stole the proceeeds from myself& our then 8 years old son. Hon. Baisley Suff.Sup.Ct. This goes way back to 1988.
It was a med. malptactice suit based on Dr.Error. Which caused fetal destress. When our sons umbilical prolapsed.Becoming compressed btw my pelvic bone & the babies head during contractions.
He did this by using his filing access State of NY. Creating a fraudulent marriage license dated 07/02/88. Town of Brookhaven has it on record.
He then took that license to Soc.Sec. Took out a 2nd Soc.Sec. # on me. Acquiring 2nd #s for our kids.
To this moment. New york has refused me access to any info that could help us. Find out our original identities.
and the harrassment that we have endured..to this day also. By SCPD, SCSD,Judges, Clerks. Is a like hell on earth.
The attorney was eichenbaum & Silverstein. In GreatNeck, NY.
I knew the suit was filed. Never knew it settled. Until I began researching the humungous amt. of mortgage fraud perpetrated by my ex. Mostly for himself & Suffolk County officials. Judges, Clerks,lawyers etc. (got me a few dozen times).
One bad apple theory ruining the whole bunch. Is true. Suffolk recordings have zero authenticity.
FRIGHTENING!

Anonymous said...

Reichenbaum & Silverstein.
sorry abt the double post.

Anonymous said...

Too bad his name wasn't FAGAN!!!

Anonymous said...

Why?

Anonymous said...

It's very likely the lawyer scum settled for the insurance maximum to protect the driver from additional personal liability. How much did he collect to make the settlement from the other side? The reason not to seek PIP was also to protect the driver from liability for a portion of those expenses also. The victim's son just wanted some cash instead of all the money going for medical expenses.

Ajithkumar Yadhavan said...


Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!













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               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
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