NYC Accountants in the Soup Again

     MANHATTAN (CN) – The accounting firm that lost a $50 million lawsuit for mishandling mystery novelist Patricia Cromwell’s finances has been sued again, by a woman who claims it Hoovered up more than $290,000 in excess fees from her.
     Christine Wolf sued Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP, Ira Yohalem and Evan Snapper in New York County Supreme Court.
     Wolf, 60, is the former wife of “Law & Order” producer Dick Wolf, according to the New York Daily News.
     In 2004, her divorce attorney referred her to Anchin’s predecessor firm, nonparty Yohalem Gilman & Co., according to her complaint.
     “Throughout her adult life, Wolf had relied upon professional advisers to manage her finances. Wolf explained to Yohalem that it was critical that she be able to rely on the honesty and integrity of Y&G,” the complaint states.
     Wolf claims they worked out an arrangement for the firm to maintain her books, pay her bills, sign her checks, create monthly reports, file her taxes and provide other services for a $7,000 monthly fee.
     “In short, Y&G agreed to manage every aspect of Wolf’s finances,” the complaint states. “Wolf agreed to pay Y&G handsomely for these services.”
     The next year, Anchin Block & Anchin acquired Y&G, and defendants Yohalem and Snapper became partners there, according to the complaint.
     When Wolf terminated that relationship in 2010, she says, she discovered that she had paid the firm more than $800,000.
     “Certain of Wolf’s files were transferred from Anchin to her new accountants. The subsequent months gave Wolf, her counsel and her new accountants access to records and information that formerly had been under Anchin’s exclusive control,” the complaint states.
     “Wolf’s investigation into these documents has revealed that Anchin had been secretly billing for services at far more than the agreed-upon $7,000 per month. Shortly after it merged with Y&G, Anchin secretly began charging Wolf at least $10,000 per month and then increased that amount to $11,000 per month or more.
     “Wolf had never been notified of any changes to the fees being charged, never received an invoice reflecting a new rate structure and never agreed to any increase. Anchin simply created an invoice, addressed it to itself, and paid it from Wolf’s bank account, which Anchin controlled,” the complaint states.
     Wolf claims the firm never showed her evidence she agreed to the new charges, which she claims totaled more than $290,000 in excess fees.
     Wolf claims that her case echoes that of Cromwell, who won a judgment against the Anvil firm and Snapper in February this year. (
     “Snapper, the Anchin partner at the heart of the Cornwell action, is the same Anchin partner primarily responsible for Wolf’s accounts and her losses,” the complaint states. “The abuse of trust at issue in the Cornwell Action is of a piece with the wrongdoing visited by defendants upon Wolf. Nor were the events underlying the Cornwell action isolated incidents. In 2011, Snapper pled guilty to the federal crime of making a false statement in connection with improper political donations.”
     Wolf seeks $800,000 for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary and professional negligence.
     She is represented by Michael Allen and Matthew Sava, of Shapiro Forman Allen & Sava.

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