A Queens-based immigration lawyer who has made headlines for multiple reasons over the last year—from helping to oversee a taxi-management company run by a reported business associate of attorney Michael Cohen, to being convicted six months apart of different felonies—has been disbarred.
Andreea Dumitru Parcalaboiu served as the chief financial officer for a taxi management company run by Evgeny “Gene” Freidman, the so-called Taxi King who has been widely linked to Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, because Friedman’s company managed dozens of Cohen-owned taxicab medallions.
It was in her role as company CFO that Parcalaboiu was convicted of criminal tax fraud in May, when she pleaded guilty after being charged by the state Attorney General’s Office with teaming with Freidman to allegedly help steal $5 million owed to the state, in the form of 50-cent passenger surcharges attached to every cab ride in the New York metro area. Friedman pleaded guilty to tax evasion as well. Cohen, meanwhile, has publicly denied being a business partner to Freidman despite many reports saying he was.
Parcalaboiu was convicted of third-degree criminal tax fraud. In her plea, she admitted only to intentionally not remitting to the state more than $10,000 in surcharge taxes collected from cab rides.
At one point in their business partnership, Parcalaboiu had assisted Friedman with managing a fleet of more than 800 medallion cabs out of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Woodside, Queens, and Long Island City, Queens, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
An Appellate Division, Second Department panel on Wednesday said her conviction means she is automatically disbarred as of the plea date, May 31. In making the ruling, the panel rejected Parcalaboiu’s pro se counterargument.
The panel, in a terse opinion, focused only on Parcalaboiu’s May felony, but the tax fraud is not the only felony she has been convicted of. On Nov. 19, after a jury trial in Manhattan federal court, she was convicted of asylum fraud for making false statements and representations on more than 100 asylum applications.
According to a superseding indictment, other court filings and evidence presented at trial, Parcalaboiu, a native of Romania admitted to the bar in 2010, had allegedly submitted more than 100 applications in which she falsified personal narratives of applicant’s persecution, criminal histories, and travel histories; fabricated detailed personal stories of purported mistreatment of her clients; forged her clients’ signatures; and falsely notarized affidavits, among other things, the Attorney General’s Office has said.
And in the asylum case, Parcalaboiu appears likely to serve prison time. Convicted of three counts in all, she reportedly faces a maximum sentence of 10 years for asylum fraud, a maximum sentence of five years on the false statement count, and a mandatory consecutive sentence of two years in prison for aggravated identity theft.
But while facing a motion for disbarment made last year by the Attorney Grievance Committee for the Second, Eleventh, and Thirteenth Judicial Districts, each of which are part of the Second Department, Parcalaboiu argued that any disbarment based on the tax-fraud conviction would be premature.
Specifically, explained the Second Department panel in its opinion, she said that her May guilty plea before Albany County Court Judge Peter Lynch was entered into with the understanding that, at her later sentencing, the judge would determine whether she’d complied with certain conditions. If so, she’d be allowed to withdraw her felony plea and enter a guilty plea to a misdemeanor tax law violation. (If she violates the conditions, Lynch has reportedly told her she could face up to seven years in prison.)
Laying out the deal with Lynch, Parcalaboiu requested that the panel stay any disbarment proceedings until she’d been sentenced, which has yet to happen.
But panel Justices Alan Scheinkman, William Mastro, Reinaldo Rivera, Mark Dillon and Ruth Balkin dispensed of Parcalaboiu’s request in just several lines.
“She requests the Court to stay these proceedings until she has been sentenced,” the unanimous panel wrote, but “pursuant to Judiciary Law § 90(4)(a), the respondent was automatically disbarred and ceased to be an attorney upon her conviction of a felony.”
“Accordingly,” the justices continued, “the motion to strike the respondent’s name from the roll of attorneys and counselors-at-law, pursuant to Judiciary Law § 90(4)(b), is granted to reflect the respondent’s automatic disbarment as of May 31, 2018, and her application to stay the proceedings is denied as academic.”
Judiciary Law §90(4)(a) mandates that a New York attorney found guilty of a felony is automatically disbarred.
On Wednesday and Thursday, attempts to reach Parcalaboiu, who has been referred to in most news reports as Andreea Dumitru, were unsuccessful. A phone number listed online for both a law firm called Andreea Dumitru & Associates P.C. and for her otherwise as a practitioner, says it has been disconnected, changed or is no longer in service.
According to biography information on the firm’s website, Parcalaboiu has a background in in-house legal work in the corporate sector, and has been living in New York for nearly 20 years. It also states that she earned a law degree in Romania, and a master’s in law at Cardozo Law School in New York.
It adds that she’s a member of the American Bar Association, New York Bar Association, Queens Bar Association, American Immigration Lawyers Association, board member of the Romanian-American Chamber of Commerce, New York chapter, and National Association of Professional Women.