On Monday, November 14, 2022, the Supreme Court of New Jersey ordered the disbarment of New York Attorney Albert O. Grant II from the practice of law for felony convictions.
The case is styled ‘In the Matter of Albert O. Grant, II’ and was brought by the Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE), under case no. DRB 22-029.
The charges cited Rules of Professional Conduct RPC 8.4(b) committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects) and RPC 8.4(c) (engaging in conduct in following dishonest, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation).
The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.
The following are as alleged and summarized from the filing:
Mr. Grant allegedly engaged in misconduct by having pled guilty and convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and two counts of wire fraud in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. It was further alleged that Mr. Grant knowingly misappropriated client and escrow funds.
The filing states:
“Between January 2014 and February 2019, respondent and his co-conspirators, Joseph Perlman; Michael Solomon Markowitz; David Binet; Omar Young; and Ulysses “Malick” Smith, engaged in an “advanced fee scheme” in which they illegally obtained at least $4.8 million from victims who sought“stand-by letters of credit” (SBLCs) from various financial institutions.”
The filing continues:
“An egregious example of respondent’s participation in the advanced feescheme occurredin 2018, when LS, a business entity,contacted respondent in connection with its attempt to secure a $30 million SBLC to help finance the construction of a youth sports complex in Arizona. Respondent informed LS thathe could secure an SBLC, on its behalf, in exchange for an advanced fee tobeheld in his ATA. Thereafter, LS, respondent, Perlman, and a companyestablished by Markowitz entered into an “agreement” to provide LS a $30 million SBLC from Scotiabank, in exchange for a $2.4 million advanced fee.”
The filing further alleges:
“On February 26,2019, United States Marshals arrested respondent, who immediately agreed to cooperate with the government’s investigation of the advanced fee scheme. Thus, when Perlman and Young instructed respondent to provide them the remaining $1.5 million, respondent did not comply and informed federal agents,who obtained a search warrant for respondent’s ATA.”
Following his arrest, respondent continued to cooperate with federalagents in connection with their investigation of his co-conspirators.”
The filing additionally notes:
“In addition to respondent’s involvement in the advanced fee scheme, headmitted to federal agents that, in 2014, he misappropriated $19,000 from aclient’s estate; misappropriated $40,000 from another client in connection witha real estate closing; and misappropriated $25,000 from a third client to paypurported bank fees. Respondent maintained, without corresponding proof, that he had repaid each client.”
Mr. Grant failed to appear on the Order directing him to show cause why he should not be disbarred or otherwise disciplined.
The Disciplinary Review Board, in recommending the disbarment of Mr. Grant said:
“He not only defrauded victims of millions of dollars in the advanced fee scheme, but he also betrayed the trust of his longtime friend, and client, by knowingly misappropriating 316,699.08 of his entrusted funds. Thus, to protect the public and protect confidence in the bar, and consistent with New Jersey disciplinary precedent.”
With the foregoing facts and discussions, the court ruled against the Respondent in relation to the above-cited Rules of Professional Conduct.
The Order reads:
“It is ORDERED that Albet O. Grant, II, be and hereby is permanently restrained and enjoined from practicing law; and it is further. . .
ORDERED that all funds, if any, currently existing or hereinafter deposited in any New Jersey financial institution maintained by Alber O. Gran, II pursuant to Rule 1:21-6 shall be restrained from disbursement except on application to the Clerk of the Superior Court, who is directed to deposit the funds in the Superior Court Trust Fund pending further Order of this Court; and
ORDERED that the entire record of this matter be made a permanent part of respondent’s file as an attorney at law of this State; and it is further
ORDERED that respondent reimburse the Disciplinary Oversight Committee for appropriate administrative costs and actual expenses incurred in the prosecution of this matter, as provided in Rule 1:20-17.”
Mr. Albert O. Grant II has been licensed in New York and New Jersey.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.