Attorney Is Suspended for Dipping Into Escrow

, New York Law Journal

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Brooklyn attorney Ingrid Barclay was suspended for three years on Thursday by a unanimous Appellate Division, Second Department, panel for stealing close to $38,000 in funds she was supposed to hold in escrow.

According to the decision, Barclay represented Martin John in a real estate closing in 2006, as well as in a Brooklyn Supreme Court lawsuit, and was given over $41,000 to hold in escrow on his behalf. Between 2007 and 2009, she distributed $11,000 to John, but used the rest herself, according to the opinion. When she was ordered in 2011 to release $24,000 to the opposing counsel in the lawsuit, she borrowed $25,000 from a friend and deposited it in her escrow account in order to do so. But she did not release the remaining escrow funds to John.

Barclay also received $36,000 to hold in escrow for another client in 2010 and converted $8,500 to her own use, according to the decision.

The Grievance Committee for the Second, Eleventh, and Thirteenth Judicial Districts charged her with converting escrow funds and with failing to keep adequate records. A special referee confirmed the charges and moved for the Second Department to impose what discipline it deemed appropriate.

The panel acknowledged mitigating factors, including financial difficulties and depression. It noted that Barclay had offered to repay the money as soon as she could.

"Notwithstanding the mitigating factors present in this case, the Court cannot overlook the fact that the respondent knowingly converted client funds for personal use," the panel wrote. "Faced with financial difficulties, the respondent invaded her escrow account."

Justices Randall Eng (See Profile), William Mastro (See Profile), Reinaldo Rivera (See Profile), Peter Skelos (See Profile) and Daniel Angiolillo (See Profile) sat on the panel. Matter of Barclay, 2012-06114, appears on page 3 of the print edition of today's Law Journal.

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