MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a Huntington business consultant, who also falsely represented himself as an attorney, has been convicted of stealing $192,000 from clients who were purchasing a party boat business.
William McCoy, 55, was convicted yesterday by a jury of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (a C felony) and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree (an E felony). The trial, before Acting Supreme Court Justice Helene Gugerty lasted 11 days and the jury deliberated for approximately an hour and a half. The defendant is due back in court March 13 for sentencing and faces a maximum of five to 15 years in prison.
“This unscrupulous defendant was not only a fake lawyer but a thief, and he scammed those who trusted him out of their hard-earned money,” DA Singas said. “While the only blame here falls on the shoulders of this con man, this case serves as a reminder to anyone hiring an attorney that they should verify their lawyer’s registration and good standing with the Office of Court Administration.”
DA Singas said in June 2014 the defendant was hired by the victims to assist them in the purchase of a Freeport-based charter/party boat business. The deal included the purchase of two vessels and business assets. At the time of their first meeting, the defendant represented to the victims that he was an attorney, though he was not. The defendant graduated from law school, but failed the New York State bar exam numerous times and was never licensed to practice law.
As part of his scheme, the defendant used a business checking account that he nicknamed ‘escrow account’ so that checks were printed out with the word ‘escrow’ on top. His clients, believing this was a lawful escrow account, wrote a check for $200,000 to the account that would be used at closing. There was an authorized expenditure of $8,000 for the transaction.
When it came time to close the deal in March 2015, the defendant, having stolen $192,000, was unable to produce the required funds. Unbeknownst to the victims, there was only $78.00 left in the business checking “escrow” account. At the time, McCoy claimed that he still had the escrow money. He later claimed that the money was used for his fees, but separate checks introduced during the trial proved the defendant had already collected fees from the victims. The defendant used the victims’ money to pay rent, car loans and for other personal expenditures.
The NCDA received the case in March 2015 and the defendant was later indicted by a Nassau County Grand Jury. He was arrested by NCDA investigators on March 27, 2017.
Senior Assistant District Attorneys Betty Rodriguez and April Montgomery of DA Singas’ Financial Crimes Bureau are prosecuting this case. The defendant is represented by Mitchell Barnett, Esq.