Three attorneys and an accountant at a former New York real estate law firm pleaded guilty along with a mortgage lender on charges related to a Poughkeepsie, N.Y., real estate settlement service kickback scheme, officials said last week.

A fourth attorney from the same law firm was charged in a 40-count indictment, officials said.

Employees of the former law firm, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.-based Hankin, Hanig, Stall, Caplicki, Redl and Curtin, have been implicated in an alleged scheme violating the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York said.

Attorney Frank Redl, formerly of the Hankin firm, was charged in a 40-count indictment, unsealed Jan. 19, with forgery, tax evasion and bank fraud, the office said. Redl was arrested Jan. 19, officials said. No plea was entered, according to officials.

Attorney Jerard Hankin, another former member of the firm, pled guilty to charges that he conspired to bribe employees of Fleet Mortgage and CTX Mortgage Co. who were responsible for arranging mortgage loans, the office said. Hankin also pleaded guilty to tax evasion, according to the office.

Attorneys Todd Stall and Daniel Curtin, also of the Hankin firm, pleaded guilty to RESPA violations, the office said.

Janet Skinner, former executive vice president in charge of mortgage lending at Fleet Mortgage and then CTX Mortgage, pleaded guilty Jan. 18 to a court document charging her with participating in a conspiracy to commit mail fraud, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Hankin pleaded guilty on charges that he conspired to bribe employees of Fleet Mortgage and CTX Mortgage who were responsible for arranging mortgage loans, officials said.

According to the court document to which he pleaded guilty, Hankin made illegal payments to employees over an 8-year period while the employees sent real estate closing work to Hankin’s law firm and title work to a title company owned by Hankin.

The illegal payments were funneled to the employees through a series of shell corporations, the indictment charges. Hankin pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, “arising from his effort to deprive the mortgage companies of the honest services of their employees, as a result of this scheme,” the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Hankin also pleaded guilty to tax evasion, officials said.

Janet Skinner of LaGrangeville, N.Y., formerly of Fleet Mortgage and CTX Mortgage, admitted that between 1996 and 2004 she conspired with Hankin, officials said. The conspiracy aimed to deprive her employees of her honest service when she allegedly accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars of illegal payments from Hankin when she was steering the lenders’ title work to Hankin’s title company and legal work to the law firm, officials said.

Skinner admitted that she accepted in excess of $390,000 in payments during the alleged scheme, officials said.

Todd Stall, of Poughkeepsie, and Daniel Curtin of Longboat Key, Fla., described as two former lawyers with the Hankin firm, pleaded guilty to criminal court documents charging that they unlawfully received portions of real estate settlement fees from a series of companies owned by Hankin without rendering any services for those payments, officials charged. Such actions are in violation of RESPA.

According to the indictment, Redl wrote a series of at least 27 checks totaling more than $150,000 from the Hankin firm’s attorney trust account to clients of the firm and other third parties, and then forged their signatures and deposited the checks into his own personal accounts. Redl did this from 2000 to 2003, until he was suspended from the bar for other alleged misdeeds, the indictment said.

Redl, the former Town Attorney for Poughkeepsie, is also charged with filing false personal income tax statements and making false statements on a series of loan applications to the Riverside bank in Poughkeepsie. He was arrested last week, officials said. A not-guilty plea was entered, media reports said.

Harold Glassberg, the Hankin firm’s accountant, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion charges arising out of his alleged preparation of false personal returns for himself, Jerard Hankin and Todd Stall, officials said. He was sentenced on Jan. 3 to 13 months in federal prison, a $25,000 fine and restitution of $33,034, officials said.

***

Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to janis@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 140.

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