Sept. 29, 2020 By Christian Murray
A disbarred Flushing attorney who allegedly stole $66,000 from a client who had won a personal injury settlement has been charged with grand larceny, forgery and other financial crimes.
Yohan Choi, 44, who had a legal practice on Northern Boulevard, was charged for bilking his client out of the settlement proceeds from a case involving a 2016 car crash.
“The defendant was entrusted to uphold the law,” said Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz. “Instead he allegedly lied, manipulated and then enriched himself with funds intended for his client. This defendant is accused of violating his fiduciary duties to feed his own greed.”
According to the charges, the insurance company awarded the victim $93,000 in November 2017, shortly after Choi had been disbarred for reasons not dealing with the case.
Choi allegedly convinced his client at the time that he could negotiate a larger settlement and deposited the $93,000 into his law firm account after forging his client’s signature on the check.
The defendant then told the victim in December 2019 that the case had finally been settled. Choi then wrote the victim out a fraudulent check for $100,000, which had a stop payment order placed on.
The victim then confronted Choi, who allegedly said the insurance company put the hold on the check. He wrote him out a second check that also could not be cashed.
The District Attorney’s office said that the victim then learned that Choi had been disbarred and confronted him yet again. In March, the defendant finally paid.
Choi was charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree, forgery in the third degree, criminal possession of a forged instrument in the third degree and for practicing law after being disbarred.
He faces up to 4 years in prison if convicted.