Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., Wednesday announced the guilty plea of attorney Douglas Arntsen, 34, to embezzling more than $10 million dollars from two clients of the Manhattan law firm Crowell & Moring LLP, where the defendant was employed.
Arntsen pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree grand larceny and one count of first-degree scheme to defraud. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 17.
According to documents filed in court, between February 2007 and September 2011, Arntsen was employed to do legal work for an investment firm. In early 2009, he began transferring millions of dollars of its escrow funds into accounts that he opened and controlled without his client’s knowledge. Then he began using the funds to support a lavish lifestyle.
In spring 2010, Arntsen began to steal from a second client, a real estate management company, to cover the shortfalls he created by his thefts from the first client and to continue funding his lifestyle.
After being confronted last September for an employee of the first client, Arntsen flew to Hong Kong where he was later arrested and extradited to the United States.