These loses are from stolen money, not legal malpracitce. The numbers are huge: in the millions.
The NYLJ reports: "Dishonest attorneys prompted the awarding of $7.1 million in 2006 from the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection, which warned yesterday that the fund is likely to start seeing claims from the largest case of lawyer theft in its 25-year history.
Last year, the fund paid out $1 million less than the $8.1 million awarded in 2005. The average awarded annually over the last five years has been just over $6.3 million. (The report is available at www.nylawfund.org.)
See the 2006 Annual Report and highlights from the report.
Officials say the fund’s finances are "very strong," but claims for reimbursement from clients defrauded by Andrew F. Capoccia and two attorneys working for him in his debt-reduction practice could total $5 million to $6 million alone, although the claims might be spread over more than one year, said Timothy J. O’Sullivan, executive director and counsel to the fund. Several hundred, and possibly thousands of clients, may seek help once federal authorities distribute restitution payments, he said in an interview yesterday.
"These catastrophic losses will challenge the New York Fund’s ability to be able to continue to serve as a model for effective law client protection in our nation," the fund’s 2006 report warned.
The precise amount that former clients of the Andrew F. Capoccia Law Centers of Albany and a successor firm, the Law Centers of Consumer Protection that moved to Bennington, Vt., will seek from the fund depends on how much in assets and restitution federal authorities can secure from Mr. Capoccia and two attorneys who worked for him, Howard Sinnott and Thomas Daly. Mr. O’Sullivan said federal authorities have seized about $4 million in assets so far in the case.
Mr. Capoccia is serving 15-2/3 years in prison for conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and other charges for his role with the two firms, which federal authorities said diverted millions in client funds to accounts controlled by Mr. Capoccia’s wife. Carol Capoccia faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when she is sentenced April 27 in connection with guilty pleas in January to obstructing a federal grand jury investigation. "