Sean O’Leary represented client in personal injury claim after car accident; allegedly stole $60,000 of negotiated settlement
MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly announced that a Lake Success attorney was arraigned yesterday for allegedly stealing $60,000 from a woman he represented in a personal injury claim in January 2021.
Sean O’Leary, 64, who resides in Huntington, was arraigned Wednesday before Judge Norman Sammut on one count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (a C felony). The defendant pleaded not guilty and was released on his own recognizance. He is due back in court on April 26, 2023. If convicted, the defendant faces up to five to 15 years in prison.
“This defendant allegedly exploited his client at a vulnerable time, stealing tens of thousands of dollars that she received to settle a personal injury claim after a car accident,” said DA Donnelly. “Navigating the difficult process of making an injury-related claim is eased for many by hiring a personal injury attorney. Clients should never have to worry that the attorney they hire may violate their trust and deceive them.”
District Attorney Donnelly said that according to the charges, the victim was injured in a car accident in May 2018 and hired the defendant to represent her as her attorney in a personal injury claim. The defendant’s company is titled Sean O’Leary & Associates, PLLC, and was situated in Lake Success.
The defendant negotiated a settlement with the other driver’s insurance company, and in January 2021, the defendant had the victim sign a release allowing a $90,000 settlement check to be issued to the defendant. The defendant was to keep $30,000, representing one-third of the settlement, as a legal fee, and forward the remaining funds to the victim.
The investigation showed that none of the funds were forwarded to the victim, despite multiple requests by the victim. Instead, the defendant allegedly withdrew the funds from his account through domestic wires, checks written out to himself, and other withdrawals.
The defendant was disbarred by the Second Department on April 20, 2022.
This case is being prosecuted by Senior Investigative Counsel Lauren Littman of the Financial Crimes Bureau. The defendant is represented by the Legal Aid Society.
If you believe you have been the victim of Sean O’Leary, contact the District Attorney’s Criminal Complaint Bureau at 516-571-3505.
The charges are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.