ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A former lawyer from Hopewell Junction has been indicted for allegedly stealing over $450,000 from disabled and vulnerable clients, the state attorney general’s office said Monday. John Ferdinand Murphy III, 68, is accused of draining his clients’ trust accounts by penning checks to himself, his company Samron Resources, LLC, and his own family members, according to a joint statement from Attorney General Letitia James and Acting State Police Superintendent Steven Nigrelli.
Murphy was charged on Monday with five counts of felony grand larceny and one count of felony scheme to defraud. The thefts allegedly happened between Jun. 26, 2015, and Dec. 29, 2021.
“Taking advantage of our vulnerable communities is disgraceful and absolutely unacceptable,” said Attorney General James. “The individual indicted today shamelessly embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from individuals that the law trusted him to protect. I thank the New York State Police and Acting Superintendent Nigrelli for their coordination in the effort to uncover and end this criminal activity. My office will continue to protect New York’s most vulnerable residents, and we will fight tirelessly to bring bad actors to justice.”
“I applaud the exceptional work conducted by our state police members, the Attorney General’s Office, the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office, the Office of Court Administration Inspector General, and the New York City Justice Center that has resulted in the arrest of Mr. Murphy,” said Acting Superintendent Nigrelli. “This individual selfishly used his position to take advantage of elderly, vulnerable, and unsuspecting New Yorkers and their families who put their trust in him to take care of their finances and loved ones. The New York State Police and our law enforcement partners will continue to put those like Mr. Murphy behind bars to protect innocent victims from being taken advantage of.”
According to court filings and statements, Murphy abused his position as an attorney over the course of nearly seven years by taking advantage of vulnerable and disabled people, including those for whom he was appointed to act as guardian or trustee. In his role, Murphy allegedly issued more than $350,000 in checks for his own use.
Additionally, while acting as trustee for a family friend who is an 89-year-old retiree, Murphy stole more than $80,000 and failed to pay the victim’s tax and utility bills, according to the attorney general’s office. Court documents show that Murphy’s failure to pay the victim’s expenses caused her utilities to be shut off on multiple occasions, and even resulted in a foreclosure proceeding on her home.
In an attempt to cover up the foreclosure, Murphy sought a seller for the home and collected a $10,000 down payment, which he then deposited into his own account, prosecutors claim. The home was never conveyed to the seller and Murphy did not return the down payment. However, with help from the New York City Justice Center, the victim has been able to remain in her home.
Murphy was suspended from practicing law in August 2021 and disbarred in December 2021. He was arraigned in federal court Monday, before the Honorable Edward McLoughlin, and released with electronic monitoring. His next court date has not been publicly announced.