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Prison for Lawyer Who Stole $1.8M From Client

MANHATTAN (CN) - A 60-year-old Westchester lawyer faces three to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to stealing nearly $2 million from a client, a judge ruled.

Shigetaka Ogihara, who turns 61 on Dec. 12, previously pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree grand larceny, signing a $1.7 million confession of judgment to his victim.

The crime involved funds that Ogihara's client had set aside between June and October 2009 for the purchase of an apartment in Manhattan.

This client transferred more than $2 million to Ogihara's Interest on Lawyer Account (IOLA) account, according to the plea, as recounted in a statement on the attorney's sentencing Wednesday.

Though instructed to hold the funds in escrow until the sought-after apartment became available, Ogihara admitted that he transferred approximately $1.8 million of the money that very week to a third party.

Prosecutors said Ogihara did not have authorization from his client to make the transfer to Odin Energy New York, a company with which Ogihara had prior ties.

Ogihara told the client that her money had been lost in an investment when she later consulted with the attorney about purchasing a different apartment.

The attorney entered his plea this past April in New York County Supreme Court.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announced that Ogihara will spend three to nine years in state prison on Wednesday.

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