ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A former New York attorney has been sentenced to more than 5 years in prison after stealing millions and defrauding his law firm and clients, federal officials announced Friday.
Albert Hessberg III stole at least $2 million as a trustee and fiduciary from his clients for more than a decade, according to a plea agreement.
Federal prosecutors say the 64-year-old Hessberg, who worked in Albany for a law firm, was ordered to forfeit about $2 million to the government and pay about $2.6 million in restitution.
Grant Jaquith, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York, issued a statement saying the sentence holds Hessberg accountable for “a staggering amount of betrayal by an attorney.”
“Hessberg did not care about his clients, their heirs, or his oath to faithfully discharge his obligations as an attorney when he stole $2 million,” he said in the statement. “Lawyers must be held to society’s highest standards.”
James Hendricks, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Albany field office, said in a statement that Hessberg showed “a despicable disregard for the very oath he took as an attorney.”
In May, Hessberg pleaded guilty to mail fraud, wire fraud and filing a false tax return. Hessberg stole money from one client to “replenish” the account of another client from whom he had already taken from, according to the plea agreement.
The document said he billed clients for legal services that were not provided and stole payments that should have been directed to the law firm.
A phone message left at the office of Hessberg’s attorney was not immediately returned.