A Brooklyn attorney who was told by a judge last year that he had "squandered and wasted" the assets of a disabled young man he served as guardian now is facing one year in jail for stealing from another of his former charges.
Ray A. Jones, Jr. pleaded guilty on Oct. 25 to second degree grand larceny in exchange for a promise from Supreme Court Justice John Walsh (See Profile) that he would only receive a year in jail. The Brooklyn District Attorney's Office argued in People v. Jones, 4527/2011, that Jones, 53, should receive the maximum sentence of 5 to 15 years in prison.
Jones, who was admitted to practice in 1984, will be disbarred as a result of his felony conviction.
Jones served for seven years as guardian of Josephine Robinson, a woman who suffered brain damage and other injuries giving birth to her daughter 35 years ago.
According to a transcript of the plea proceedings, Assistant District Attorney Michael Spanakos told the court that Jones had stolen $200,000 from Robinson through "layers of documents and transfers."
Jones admitted at the plea allocution that he was guilty of grand larceny, but he did not elaborate. He is due to appear in court on Dec. 6 to make arrangements for sentencing.
According to the district attorney's office, Jones' attorneys advocated a nonjail sentence for their client in a June 19 letter to the court in which they said that Jones was remorseful for what they characterized as "aberrant behavior."
But Spanakos, in his June 28 response, cited the earlier case of Roy Lantigua Jr. to argue that the lawyer's conduct was not an isolated incident.
In March 2011, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Betsy Barros (See Profile) denied Jones' $83,360 legal fee request and ordered he pay a $501,425 surcharge, plus interest, to the estate of Lantigua, a boy born with a stunted torso, no arms and club feet.
Barros ruled Jones "never acted in Roy's best interest" while "hallmarks" of Jones' work as co-guardian and co-trustee of the youth included "self-dealing" and "a cavalier disregard of Roy's abilities and disabilities" (NYLJ, May 25, 2011). The Lantigua case spurred the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law to establish a guardianship clinic.