Lawyer charged with deceiving family of dead man after he misplaced the will (NY)

Honesty wasn’t the best policy for an estate lawyer who strung along a grieving family for more than a year after he misplaced a dead man’s will — even going so far as to forge a fake receipt, prosecutors charged on Wednesday.

James Robbins, 62, pleaded not guilty to possession of a forged instrument and offering a false instrument for filing after he allegedly submitted a fake receipt to Manhattan Surrogate’s Court in 2014, according to the Manhattan DA.

“For more than a year and a half, the defendant made one false statement after another to the decedent’s family,” Assistant DA Jaime Hickey-Mendoza said in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Robbins — to throw off the family — allegedly told the kin that the will he drafted might be published in the New York Law Journal.

He also explained delays in case progress by saying the assigned judge was ill and that the case had been transferred, Hickey-Mendoza said.

Prosecutors said Robbins did not profit from the incident and that the family was not even billed for his faulty services.

It was not immediately clear why Robbins allegedly flubbed the job and his attorney James Schiff declined to comment after the arraignment.

Robbins was released on his own recognizance for the night by Justice Maxwell Wiley but was ordered to return to court Thursday so $5,000 bail can be posted on his behalf by bondsman Ira Judelson.


Lawyer charged with deceiving family of dead man after he misplaced the will
Shayna Jacobs
March 25, 2015
New York Daily News