Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg today announced the guilty plea of ARTHUR COHEN, 72, a licensed attorney, for stealing approximately $1.2 million from his former law firm, underreporting his income over five years, and falsifying business records and legal claims in an attempt to cover his thefts. COHEN pleaded guilty to the top count of the New York State Supreme Court indictment against him, Grand Larceny in the First Degree. He is expected to be sentenced to a promised sentence of 2 1/2-to-7 1/2 years in state prison on October 10, 2023. He will be required to enter a Confession of Judgment for $1.2 million – the full amount charged in the indictment – as well as consent to a Tax Field Audit Adjustment for approximately $200,000.
“As an attorney, Arthur Cohen knew full well that he was committing crimes when he stole from his own firm and lied in court documents in an attempt to avoid responsibility for the theft,” said District Attorney Bragg. “That attempt was unsuccessful, and today, he took accountability for his actions. He will now face a prison sentence commensurate with the breadth of his crimes.”
As admitted in his guilty plea, between January 2014 and February 2020, COHEN served as a senior equity partner and treasurer of the now-defunct Manhattan law firm of Gordon and Silber, P.C. From at least January 2014, until he was suspended, COHEN used his position as treasurer to systematically steal funds from the firm. COHEN secretly directed the firm to pay his and his family’s credit cards, charged significant personal expenses to company cards, submitted fraudulent expense reports for fictitious expenses, and overpaid himself in 2019. COHEN hid his thefts, which exceeded $1.2 million, with fabricated accounting entries and numerous fraudulent expense reports.
COHEN used the stolen funds to purchase, in part, a $40,000 diamond-encrusted Cartier watch, a $57,000 diamond ring, and to service luxury automobiles. He also used over $100,000 of stolen money to pay for his son’s American Express card and used law firm credit cards and funds to cover other family-related expenses, including multiple stays in luxury hotels.
In February 2020, COHEN was suspended by his firm after an analysis of bank and credit card records uncovered his thefts. Following his suspension, the law firm asked him to repay some or all of the stolen funds. Instead of repaying them, COHEN filed a lawsuit against his former partners and law firm in New York County Supreme Court, including two documents containing false information.
COHEN’s former partners then responded to his civil lawsuit with counterclaims alleging that he had stolen from the firm. Subsequently, COHEN committed perjury in a verified answer, falsely denying he had stolen from the firm.
Assistant D.A.s Michael Frantel and Katherine Ellis are handling the prosecution of the case, under the supervision of Assistant D.A. Julieta V. Lozano (Chief of the Major Economic Crimes Bureau) and Assistant D.A. Jodie Kane (Acting Chief of the Investigation Division).
Paralegals Jaden Jarmel-Schneider and Kayla Hayman, Senior Rackets Investigator Anthony Santoro, and Forensic Accountant Investigator Francine Wexler, under the supervision of Irene Serrapica (Principal Deputy Bureau Chief of Forensic Accounting and Financial Investigations) and Robert Demarest (Chief of Forensic Accounting and Financial Investigations), also assisted with the investigation.
D.A. Bragg thanked the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, particularly Criminal Tax Auditor II Huiqing Cheu.
Briar Cliff Manor, NY
- Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class B felony, one count
- Tax Fraud in the Third Degree, a class D felony, three counts
- Tax Fraud in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, two counts
- Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor, one count
- Perjury in the Third Degree, a class A misdemeanor, one count
- 2 1/2-to-7 1/2 years in state prison
- $1,200,720.91 Confession of Judgment
- Tax Field Audit Adjustment