A former Crowell & Moring associate who pleaded guilty to embezzling $10.7 million in client funds choked back tears yesterday and said he was "consumed with remorse" during his sentencing. Douglas Arntsen, 34, said he was "so sorry" for his actions, apologizing to his family, former clients and ex-employer before Acting Supreme Court Justice Jill Konviser in Manhattan (See Profile) gave him a four-to-12-year prison sentence.
Arntsen pleaded guilty earlier this month to three counts of first-degree grand larceny and one count of first-degree scheme to defraud. Prosecutors had pressed for a five-to-15-year sentence. At his plea, Arntsen agreed to a restitution order for the stolen $10.7 million (NYLJ, Oct. 3).
His conviction arose from his theft of money from Doina Capital, a corporation and investment fund, and Regal Real Estate, a management company. A day after Arntsen was terminated from the law firm in September 2011, a Regal employee confronted him regarding the whereabouts of deposits on real estate sales. Arntsen withdrew about $1.8 million but told the employee to come with him to Hong Kong for the remainder—even sending the employee a copy of a plane ticket. The employee did not accompany Arntsen, who traveled to Hong Kong via a different route, where he was arrested and extradited.
Before the sentencing, Arntsen's attorney, Alan Lewis of Carter Ledyard & Milburn, protested inclusion of the word "fled" in the presentence report's account of the case. Lewis said that Arntsen had long planned the Hong Kong trip for business and it was not an attempt to escape prosecution. But Konviser refused to amend the report because, she said, "I think it's entirely accurate." She later told Lewis there was "certainly circumstantial proof your client was evading authorities." Still, she said, Arntsen's trip had "no bearing on my decision."