WILTON, N.Y. (NEWS10) — An attorney has pleaded guilty to stealing funds from an elderly client. Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen said that Ellen Zwijacz, 43, of Wilton has pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the second degree, a felony.
Heggen said Zwijacz admitted to stealing funds from an elderly client and her estate over a six-year period. The New York State Police SIU Financial Crimes Units found that Zwijacz prepared and presented false trust documents to open accounts and transfer funds out of the client’s control without their knowledge.
Zwijacz also submitted the false documents to an insurance company to change address and beneficiary information on life insurance policies. Police said she further concealed the theft by filing inaccurate documents as the attorney for the victim’s estate.
“The relationship between client and attorney is one of the utmost trust,” said Heggen. “It is a tragedy to see that exploited for financial gain.”
Heggen said her plea deal subjects her to a sentencing range from local prison and probation to one to three years in state prison. Zwijacz is required to pay over $860,000 in restitution to the victim.
Her sentencing is scheduled for January 5, 2022. As a result of the felony conviction, Zwijacz will be required to surrender her license to practice law.
Zwijacz posted $5,000 cash bail and will remain at liberty until her sentencing.