Feb. 1, 2022 By Allie Griffin
A disbarred Bayside lawyer has pleaded guilty to grand larceny for bilking dozens of clients out of more than $1.8 million over a five-year period.
Yohan Choi, who ran a law practice on Northern Boulevard in Flushing, failed to hand over thousands of dollars to approximately 50 clients who he successfully represented in personal injury cases, according to the charges.
The 47-year-old pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the fourth degree in Queens criminal court Monday and will likely face prison time.
According to the charges, Choi won dozens of settlements between 2015 and 2020, but his clients never saw a penny.
For instance, Choi reached a $52,000 settlement for a client in November 2016 but failed to hand over any of the proceeds. The woman was entitled to $35,000—after legal fees—but got nothing.
Choi reached a $75,000 settlement in a different lawsuit in May 2018 and should have forwarded $50,000 to his client. He failed to provide his client with any of the money.
The following year, in November 2017, Choi lost his license to practice law. However, he still continued to swindle cash from clients, according to the charges.
A man who hired Choi after he was disbarred never saw the $30,150 he was due from a May 2020 settlement. Choi received a check from an insurance company on behalf of the client for $45,000 and kept it all for himself, according to the charges.
He stole funds from many clients, according to charges. At the time of his plea, he signed 28 confessions of judgment to repay the money to his victims.
“As a member of the bar, this defendant took an oath to uphold the law,” Katz said in a statement. “Unfortunately, his greed overpowered his sense of duty and between August 2015 and August 2020 he failed to turn over more than $1.8 million to clients who had settled personal injury claims.”
Choi is set to return to court for sentencing on April 6.
Judge Eugene Guarino indicated he would order Choi to serve 1 ½ to 4 ½ years in prison.