The Appellate Division, First Department on Tuesday accepted the resignation of Manhattan attorney Philip Teplen, who admitted to stealing funds he was supposed to hold in escrow for a client in an immigration matter.
Teplen submitted his resignation to the departmental disciplinary committee in March, admitting that his conduct warranted disbarment.
Teplen was hired by an Irish citizen, Gayle Dunne, seeking an investor visa to live in the United States. On Nov. 18, 2010, she wired $500,000 to Teplen’s escrow account to demonstrate that she was in the process of investing in this country.
Less than a month later, on Dec. 10, Dunne asked for $170,000 of the money back for a different investment opportunity, but Teplen had already spent all of her money himself. Dunne sued Teplen on Dec. 26, 2010.
Four months later, Teplen and Dunne agreed to a judgment requiring Teplen and his firm, Teplen Law Group, to repay all the money plus interest and fees. Teplen maintains he has done so, but Dunne disputes that, according to the First Department.
Dunne brought a disciplinary complaint against Teplen in December 2012. Justices John Sweeny, Rolando Acosta, Dianne Renwick, Richard Andrias and Helen Freedman sat on the panel in Matter of Teplen, M-1756.
Teplen is represented by Richard E. Grayson.
The disciplinary committee is represented by Norma Melendez.