WHITE PLAINS, NY — August 21, 2018 — Guy Parisi, the well-respected legal eagle was arrested yesterday morning by U.S. Postal Inspectors who arrived at his home at about 5am. Parisi was charged with conspiracy, fraud, and making false statements to investigators. The indictment alleges that Parisi was hired to represent the estate of a deceased Mount Vernon man, one John Doe, in Surrogate Court in 2017. The intent of John Doe, who hired Parisi, was to remove the prior Administrator who was engaged by the deceased two years before his demise in April 2000. It was thereafter that Parisi was asked by John Doe, to remove the former Administrator. When the Administrator was removed, John Doe engaged Parisi’s services to become the Administrator of the Estate. Parisi was granted the designation of Administrator by the Surrogate Court. John Doe thereafter expected Parisi would expedite the reclamation of the assets of the estate held by the Office of New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. In 2015 the rightful heir to the estate became known. The federal indictment asserts that is is after Parisi was designated Administrator of the estate that things went awry.
In order to have the assets released, the indictment alleges Parisi created a corporation known as Stokes Asset Recovery Service to handle the recovery of the assets. The company was named after the Easthampton Road where Parisi owns a beach house.
It is further alleged that Parisi created the corporation with his cousin, so as to collect a fee that ranges between 5 and 15 percent to which such a corporate structure would be entitled. The feds allege that Parisi intended to benefit from the release of funds from the NYS Comptroller’s coffers by omitting that he and his cousin had set up a corporation that John Doe was allegedly never advised to him in the first place. The indictment alleges that Parisi tried to cash in on the estate’s assets by hiring a fictitious company he created with an unnamed relative just two weeks prior to which he would not be entitled to which he would greedily share in a 15 percent of the funds worth over a couple of million in assets.
Under the law, Parisi as Administrator is entitled to receive payment for recovering the assets for a fee. John Doe was not made aware that he could also collect those same assets at no cost by filing a claim that is easily accomplished online.
The crux of the indictment is that Parisi did not inform John Doe, the NYS Comptroller, or the Surrogate Court that he was engaged in allegedly defrauding John Doe by not advising him that Parisi had set up Stokes Recovery to gain much more than he was entitled to as an Administrator.
The government asserts that Parisi was engaged in materially false and fraudulently attempting to obtain property with intent to defraud.
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Thomas P. DiNapoli
New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and Philip R. Bartlett, Inspector-in-Charge of the New York Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”) announced that a federal grand jury in White Plains, New York returned an Indictment yesterday charging GUY PARISI, a Westchester attorney, with conspiracy, mail fraud and false statements. These charges arise from PARISI’s attempt to embezzle funds from a decedent’s estate for which he served as a court-appointed administrator. PARISI was arrested yesterday morning and was presented before the United States District Judge Paul E. Davison.
“Instead of protecting the interests of the estate, Mr. Parisi abused the trust placed in him by allegedly attempting to pocket millions of dollars meant for the beneficiaries by using a fictitious company,” said New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. “Thanks to my ongoing partnerships with United States Attorney Geoffrey Berman and the United States Postal Inspection Service, he will now be held accountable for his actions. My office will continue to work with law enforcement across the State to protect unclaimed funds in our custody.”
“Guy Parisi, a Westchester attorney, allegedly embezzled funds from an estate which he was a court-appointed fiduciary,” said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman. “Parisi allegedly shirked his responsibilities to the estate in order to serve his own greed. Now he faces justice in a criminal court.”
“Mr. Parisi allegedly took advantage of the trust given to him by his client, when instead of doing the right thing, he created a company to greedily enrich himself of fees he would not lawfully be entitled to receive,” said Inspector-in-Charge Peter R. Rendina. “Postal Inspectors and their law enforcement partners uphold the truth and those who do not must face justice.”
According to the allegations contained in the Indictment:
PARISI, an attorney in Westchester County, was appointed administrator of the estate of a former resident of Mt. Vernon, in or about April 2017. His duties as administrator included collecting the assets of the estate. As an administrator, PARISI had a fiduciary duty to the estate and to the decedent’s son, the sole beneficiary of his father’s will. New York law provided for a fee for estate administrators like PARISI based on a percentage of the value of the estate’s assets.
A substantial part of the estate’s assets escheated to the State of New York as abandoned property between 2000 and 2008, when the estate was first presented to the Surrogate’s Court. These assets were held in the custody of the New York State Comptroller.
In or about June 2017, PARISI, on behalf of the estate, retained Stokes Asset Recovery Services (“Stokes”) as the estate’s abandoned property location service in exchange for a fee of fifteen percent of the value of the estate’s assets held by the Comptroller, which is the maximum fee allowed by New York law. PARISI did not disclose, and actively concealed, that Stokes was owned by his relative, and that he and the relative had formed Stokes less than two weeks before he notified the Comptroller of his retention of Stokes, as he was required to do under New York law. PARISI and the relative named Stokes after a Southampton, New York, street on which PARISI owned a waterfront vacation home. At the time he retained Stokes, PARISI knew that the estate’s assets held by the Comptroller were worth several million dollars.
PARISI was interviewed by a Postal Inspector in or about November 2017. He falsely told the Postal Inspector that he had worked with Stokes in the past and that Stokes’s fee was five percent of the value of the assets held by the Comptroller.
PARISI, 71, of Rye, New York, is charged with one count of conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; one count of mail fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and one count of making a false statement, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as the sentence will be determined by the court.
Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the Postal Inspection Service and the New York State Comptroller.
This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant United States Attorney James McMahon is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent
Since taking office in 2007, DiNapoli has committed to fighting public corruption and encourages the public to help fight fraud and abuse. New Yorkers can report allegations of fraud involving taxpayer money by calling the toll-free Fraud Hotline at 1-888-672-4555, by filing a complaint online at firstname.lastname@example.org