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DISBARRED ATTORNEY ADMITS FRAUD, FORGERY, THEFT

Already disbarred, serving a federal prison term and facing a continuing state investigation of larger alleged investment fraud, Mark D. Deinhart pleaded guilty Friday to securities fraud and forging a court official's name to bilk clients.

State Supreme Court Justice Ronald H. Tills refused to give Deinhart, 37, a former Buffalo attorney, a sentencing commitment on the new charges or on his earlier guilty pleas and scheduled sentencing Nov. 12.

Court officials said Deinhart -- serving a 13-month federal term sentence for professional misconduct, could get a combined prison term of up to 16 years from Tills on his state cases.

John C. Doscher, a financial crimes prosecutor with the Erie County district attorney's office and Dennis Rosen, head of the state attorney general's local consumer frauds bureau, confirmed Deinart is under investigation as a possible "player" in a bigger fraud.

Rosen confirmed that Deinhart's guilty plea Friday to bilking a Vietnam War veteran out of nearly all of the $600,000 the man invested from a civilian workplace injury settlement he got in the mid-1990s was linked to a continuing probe of World Wide Capital Funding of Amherst.

Deinhart pleaded guilty to one count of felony securities fraud for making the disabled vet believe three years ago that his investments were fully insured.

Separately Friday Deinart pleaded guilty to attempted forgery and attempted grand larceny for forging the name of Paul Smaldone, chief clerk of Erie County Surrogate's Court, on an estate-related document last April in his bid to swindle more than $3,200 out of an estate he was handling.

The scam was revealed when a beneficiary of the estate complained to authorities about Deinhart's billing tactics and alleged he had mishandled her mother's estate.

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