DA Vance: Attorney Pleads Guilty to Stealing Funds From Harlem Church

January 25, 2019

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the guilty plea of JOHN SHASANMI, 39, for stealing $600,000 from a Harlem church that he represented in a real estate transaction. The defendant pleaded guilty in New York State Supreme Court to two counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and one count of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Third Degree. He is expected to be sentenced on March 1, 2019.

“John Shasanmi had an obligation to act in his clients’ best interest, but instead, he chose to exploit the faith his clients placed in him by stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the sale of their historic Harlem church,” said District Attorney Vance. “If you believe your organization has been the victim of a similar theft, please call our Financial Frauds hotline at 212-335-8900. As demonstrated in this case, the skilled prosecutors in our Financial Frauds Bureau stand ready to follow the money, hold white-collar thieves accountable, and secure justice.”

Assistant D.A. David Bernstein handled the prosecution of this case under the supervision of Assistant D.A.s David Crowley, Supervising Attorney of the Financial Frauds Bureau; Gloria Garcia, Chief of the Financial Frauds Bureau, as well as Executive Assistant D.A. Michael Sachs, Chief of the Investigation Division. Paralegal Ethan Ellsworth and Investigative Analyst Oliver Van Zant assisted with the case, as did Senior Rackets Investigator Anthony Santoro.

District Attorney Vance thanked the New York State Attorney General’s Charities Bureau, United States Customs and Border Protection, the Philadelphia Police Department, and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office for their assistance.

Defendant Information:


Wilmington, Delaware


  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, two counts
  • Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Third Degree, a class A misdemeanor, one count