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Long Island lawyer headed to prison after $4.3M theft

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A disbarred lawyer from Old Westbury made an unsuccessful final plea for freedom Thursday when he asked a Nassau judge to delay his sentencing after admitting to stealing more than $4 million from clients, including his wife, but is now on his way to prison, prosecutors said.

James Kalpakis, 52, was sentenced Jan. 23 in the Nassau County Court after pleading guilty to first-degree and second-degree grand larceny charges. He was told he will be spending the next 3 1/3 to 10 years in prison and will need to repay $4,362,279.83.

In court, Kalpakis asked the judge to delay the sentencing so he could finalize his divorce, move out of his house and help his daughter give a speech at church.

Kalpakis – who asked to address the court – explained he needed to meet with the judge presiding over his divorce proceedings. “I’d be losing a lot,” he said before his ringing cell phone interrupted his own speech.

Apologizing, Kalpakis asked the visibly irritated judge to hold off the sentencing for about two weeks, saying he was looking for a “very, very short adjournment.” He also said he plans to use his time behind bars to “rehabilitate” himself and “try to make things right for the victims.”

“Justice delayed would in fact be justice denied,” Judge Phillip Grella said when denying the request.

Prosecutors allege Kalpakis – who was suspended from practicing law in 2005 and disbarred in 2009 – stole more than $4.3 million from clients he represented from 2008 to 2011 in real estate deals.

The district attorney’s office said he scammed $1.3 million by using forged deeds to sell two homes and later stole another $290,000 in escrow funds from the same victim. The same victim, prosecutors said, fell victim to another one of Kalpakis’ scams, paying him $500,000 to be invested in oil, gas and mineral leases in Texas.

In addition to several other thefts, Kalpakis admitted to scamming his wife out of more than $400,000 by signing a new $1.1 million mortgage loan and submitting a forged power of attorney in her name.

As he was led down a courthouse hallway in handcuffs, Kalpakis said he has “extreme remorse.”

“Remorse is nonsense,” said Mario Biaggi, an attorney representing one of the victims. “He stole millions in a very short period.”

Kalpakis’ lawyer, James Toner, said his client has “accepted responsibility” and apologized to his children and close family friends, some of who were victims of his scams.

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