Paul Richard Karan, an attorney who specialized in trusts and estates planning, pleaded guilty to grand larceny and other charges for the theft of more than $2.6 million from the estates and trusts of multiple families, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announced Thursday.
“Paul Richard Karan stole millions from multiple families, callously abusing the longtime trust they placed in him as their attorney and adviser,” Vance said in a statement. “The defendant systematically drained his victims’ trusts and estate funds over a period of more than a decade—and in one instance, embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars less than a month after his client’s death—all to finance his own lavish lifestyle.”
According to Vance’s office, Karan admitted to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from two estates and 10 trusts he controlled between 2005 and 2016. Karan’s illegal activities were reported to law enforcement by his former firm, Spizz Cohen & Serchuk, where he’d been a partner.
Karan was disbarred over the matter by Appellate Division, First Department’s grievance committee last November. He had been suspended from practicing since February 2017.
According to Vance’s office, Karan used the money to pay his mortgage, dining out in the city, country club fees, trips to Europe and credit card bills.
Karan was represented by Herrick Feinstein counsel Thomas Thornhill. Reached by phone, he declined to comment on the guilty plea.
Sentencing in the case is expected in late March.