Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the sentencing of SHIGETAKA OGIHARA, 60, an attorney, to 3-to-9 years in state prison for stealing approximately $1.8 million from one of his clients. On April 7, 2014, OGIHARA previously pleaded guilty in New York State Supreme Court to Grand Larceny in the First Degree. As part of his plea, OGIHARA also signed a confession of judgment to his victim in the amount of $1.7 million.
“Attorneys have an obligation to conduct their dealings fairly and honestly,” said District Attorney Vance. “Similarly, attorneys are obligated to respect the inviolability of the funds they hold on behalf of their clients. In this case, the defendant betrayed his client’s trust by stealing the funds entrusted to him by the victim and keeping the money for personal use. My Office has a history of prosecuting attorneys who abuse their profession in order to take advantage of others, and we will continue to prosecute those who commit crimes and disregard their code of professional conduct.”
According to court documents and the defendant’s guilty plea, between June and October 2009, OGIHARA’s victim transferred in excess of $2 million to the defendant’s Interest on Lawyer Account (IOLA) for the purchase of an apartment in Manhattan. The defendant was instructed to hold the funds in escrow until the apartment the victim planned to buy was available for purchase. Instead, within six days of obtaining the bulk of the funds, OGIHARA transferred approximately $1.8 million of the victim’s money—without authorization—to a company with which the defendant had prior ties called Odin Energy New York. When the victim later consulted with OGIHARA about purchasing a different apartment, the defendant told the victim that her $1.8 million had been lost in an investment.
Former Assistant District Attorney Leah Keith handled the prosecution of the case, with the assistance of Assistant District Attorney Adam Maltz, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Archana Rao, Deputy Chief of the Special Prosecutions Bureau, Assistant District Attorney Michael Sachs, Chief of the Special Prosecutions Bureau, and Executive Assistant District Attorney David Szuchman, Chief of the Investigation Division.
Investigative assistance was provided by Financial Investigator Hermeet Kaur, under the supervision of Irene Serrapica, Deputy Chief of the Forensic Accounting and Financial Investigations Bureau, and Robert Demarest, Demarest, Chief of the Forensic Accounting and Financial Investigations Bureau; and Investigator Jose Vasquez and Deputy Chief Supervising Investigator Santiago Batista, under the supervision of Chief Investigator Walter Alexander, all of the Investigations Bureau. Investigative Analyst Anne McGrath also provided additional assistance with the case.
SHIGETAKA OGIHARA, D.O.B. 12/12/1953
- Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
- 3-to-9 years in state prison