Saratoga County District Attorney Karen A. Heggen reports that a Wilton attorney, Ellen K. Zwijacz, (dob 6/25/78) of 256 Edie Road, Town of Wilton, entered a plea of guilty today to one count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a Class “C” felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law Section 155.40(1) before Saratoga County Court Judge James A. Murphy, III.
Defendant Zwijacz admitted to Judge Murphy that she stole funds belonging to an elderly client and her estate over a six-year period. The results of an investigation by the New York State Police SIU Financial Crimes Unit revealed that the defendant used her legal skills and knowledge to prepare and present purported trust documents to open accounts and transfer funds out of the client’s control without their knowledge. Zwijacz also submitted the fraudulent documents to an insurance company to change address and beneficiary information on life insurance policies. She further concealed the larceny by filing inaccurate documents as the attorney for the victim’s estate with the Surrogates’ Court.
Zwijacz’s plea subjects her to a sentencing range from local incarceration and probation, to up to one to three years in state prison. She is required to pay over $860,000.00 in restitution to the victim prior to her sentencing, which is scheduled for January 5, 2022 at 2:30 pm. As a result of the felony conviction she will also be required to surrender her license to practice law.
District Attorney Heggen reflected on the unique nature of this case. “The relationship between client and attorney is one of the utmost trust. It is a tragedy to see that trust exploited for financial gain. The plea agreement in this case ensures that the financial loss of the victim is made whole and that the defendant shall never again act as a fiduciary confidant for a client.”
DA Heggen also recognized the dedication and hard work of the law enforcement agency involved in the investigation, the New York State Police SIU Financial Crimes Unit, particularly Senior Investigator Timothy Marten, Investigator Kurt Strassberger and Forensic Auditor Laura Cotazino. Heggen also commended the thorough oversight of the investigation by Assistant District Attorney Sarah J. Leszczynski. Ms. Zwijcaz was represented by Julie A. Nociolo of E. Stewart Jones, Hacker, Murphy, LLP.
The defendant posted $5,000 cash bail and will remain at liberty until her sentencing.
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