MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a disbarred attorney from Hicksville pleaded guilty to stealing $40,000 from a Hicksville couple selling their home.
Constantine Giannakos, 51, pleaded guilty yesterday to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a D felony) before Judge Robert Bogle. If the defendant provides $40,000 restitution at the time of sentence on May 10, he is expected to be sentenced to five years’ probation; however, if the defendant does not pay restitution, he is expected to be sentenced to one to three years in prison.
“Instead of faithfully representing his clients, this defendant stole $40,000 from them and spent it at the Home Depot and on personal credit card payments,” DA Singas said. “When an attorney abuses their client’s trust and steals from them, my office will hold them accountable for their crimes.”
DA Singas said that in early 2017, a Hicksville homeowner and her ex-husband hired the defendant to represent them in the sale of their home. The complainants and their home purchasers entered a sales contract on February 4, 2017.
At the time of the contract signing, the buyers’ attorney provided a $40,000 down payment check made out to ‘Constantine Giannakos, as attorney’ that was deposited into Giannakos’ escrow account and held there until the closing.
Between February 4 and the scheduled closing date of September 27, the defendant and one of the complainants met at public locations including a Dunkin’ Donuts on Newbridge Road in Hicksville. The defendant claimed he had an office in Syosset, but in fact, did not.
Following the closing on September 27, the defendant was supposed to remit the $40,000 down payment to his clients but never did so. The complainants made several subsequent requests for the money via phone and text messages but never received the money.
The NCDA received the case on October 24, 2017, after receiving a complaint from the homeowners. A review of the escrow account showed Giannakos spent the $40,000 at Home Depot, on credit card payments, department stores, mortgage payments, and unrelated business expenses.
Giannakos was disbarred for another matter on August 21, 2012.
Since 2012, the NCDA has prosecuted more than 20 attorneys for misconduct.
If you believe you may have been a victim of an unscrupulous attorney, please call the NCDA’s Tip Line at 516-571-7755. Anyone interested in hiring an attorney is encouraged to check that person’s standing and registration with the Office of Court Administration.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Contreras of DA Singas’ Financial Crimes Bureau is handling this case. Eric Franz, Esq. represents the defendant.