A New York attorney is being charged with stealing $70,000 from his medical malpractice clients, according to a press release from the Rockland County District Attorney, Thomas Zugibe.

The clients, a husband and wife, were plaintiffs in a medical malpractice case and were sent a $70,000 check by the defendant in an effort to settle the matter. But the plaintiffs told their attorney, Joel Grossbarth, they did not want to settle for less than $350,000.

Grossbarth then allegedly told the plaintiffs that he would return the check to the defendant, but instead deposited the money into his own bank account. Afterwards, he falsely filed an agreement and release to settle the case without the plaintiff’s knowledge or consent.

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Grossbarth was charged with grand larceny in the second degree, criminal possession of a forged instrument and offering a false instrument for filing. He faces up to 15 years in jail. “This arrest should serve as a warning to unscrupulous professionals who seek to prey on their clients,” Zugibe said.