By Daniel Wiessner
ALBANY, N.Y., Feb 19 (Reuters) - The New York Court of
Appeals has upheld the two-year suspension of a matrimonial
lawyer whose brother stole more than $4 million from his law
firm's escrow accounts.
Without explanation, the court on Tuesday declined to hear
Peter Galasso's final bid to overturn the 2012 suspension, which
had been stayed pending the court's decision.
Between 2004 and 2007, Galasso's brother, Anthony, who
worked as a bookkeeper for the firm, diverted more than $4
million in escrow money and took elaborate steps to cover his
tracks, according to court papers.
Anthony Galasso in 2007 confessed to the thefts and was
sentenced to 2-1/2 to 7-1/2 years in prison on charges including
grand larceny and falsifying business records. He was paroled in
The Grievance Committee for the 9th Judicial District
brought 10 charges of professional misconduct against Peter
Galasso of Long Island, saying he had failed to safeguard his
clients' money. The Appellate Division, Second Department, last
year sustained all 10 charges and suspended him for two years.
Galasso appealed, and the Court of Appeals in October
affirmed nine of the charges. It vacated one charge, that
Galasso did not cooperate in a timely manner with requests for
information by the disciplinary committee.
The case was remanded to the Second Department for further
proceedings, including a determination on whether the two-year
suspension was still an appropriate sanction.
The Second Department in December stood by the suspension
and Galasso sought leave to appeal.
The Court of Appeals on Tuesday declined to hear the case.
Galasso's attorney and law partner, Jeffrey Catterson, said
in a statement on Tuesday that Galasso was frustrated by the
But he "is heartened by the prospect of returning to
practice in two years revitalized and reinvigorated," Catterson
The case is In the Matter of Galasso, New York State Supreme
Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, No. 2010-01047
For Galasso: Jeffrey Catterson of Galasso Langione Catterson
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