NEW BRUNSWICK—A former attorney has been placed on probation for five years for stealing $12,500 from an Edison law firm where he had worked as an associate, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan announced yesterday.
Charles Epstein, 55, of Ventnor City also was ordered to repay $11,050 during a hearing on April 12, at the Middlesex County Courthouse in New Brunswick.
Superior Court Judge Frederick P. DeVesa noted the defendant has already returned $1,450.
Epstein was sentenced after he pleaded guilty on Jan. 7, to a charge of third degree theft, admitting he took $12,500 while he worked at the Edison firm of Eichen, Levinson & Crutchlow.
Epstein pleaded guilty following negotiations with Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Manuel Sameiro.
The defendant was charged after Investigator Gary Charydczak and Investigator Brian Gilmurray, both of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, determined that Epstein cashed and kept the proceeds from four checks written by a client to the law firm on Aug. 2, 2004, Aug. 4, 2004, and Sept. 15, 2004.
The investigation further showed that in September 2004, he had been disbarred by the state Office of Attorney Ethics, which revoked his license to practice law after determining that between November 2000 and June 2001, he took $6,800 from another law firm, DuBois, Sheehan, Hamilton & Levin, while he worked there.
Epstein repaid the $6,800 and was not charged with criminal wrongdoing in that case.
The investigation into the theft of the $12,500 began after the Edison law firm lodged a complaint with the state Office of Attorney Ethics, which referred the matter to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office in November 2007.
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