State’s attorney: Former real estate attorney stole nearly $1.8 million from clients
A former real estate attorney, who’s already being sued over allegations he didn’t pay clients for real estate closings, is now in custody. Carl Ferraro, 57, of Darien, was arrested Wednesday and arraigned Thursday on eight counts of larceny.
State’s Attorney Paul Ferencek told the court Ferraro stole over $1.782 million from his clients, adding “So there’s a huge loss there.” Ferencek said Ferraro, whose office was in Norwalk, represented sellers in real estate deals but after the closings, kept the money intended for the sellers. Ferencek also said Ferraro was supposed to turn himself in to Norwalk police when he got out of rehab in May, but that didn’t happen.
Norwalk police began investigating in March after several complaints, including from Joe Jensen and his daughter Dana Jensen.
“When I heard he was arrested, I felt a joy like deep down inside,” Dana Jensen told News 12, getting emotional.
Dana Jensen was the listing agent on her childhood home in Norwalk which her father put on the market. She said Ferraro came highly recommended to them and there were no red flags until after the closing when he put off turning the money over to them. After several days, Dana Jensen said she and her father just showed up at his office and picked up their checks.
Court documents show Joe Jensen was issued a check for $853,965.91 for the sale of his house, and Dana Jensen received one for $41,400 for her commission. She said both of them deposited the checks but never saw any of the money.
“Without telling us, he issued a stop payment. He took everything. It was my father’s retirement,” Dana Jensen said. “To have it all stolen from us is gut-wrenching.”
In court, Ferencek told the judge there are eight files with similar stories, and each has multiple victims.
Some of them already filed civil suits against Ferraro. As a result, a judge ordered his law license suspended in March. The court filing shows the judge ruled that Ferraro “poses a threat of irreparable harm to current and prospective clients.” In April, Ferraro’s attorney, Suzanne Sutton, filed a response that said Ferraro would resign and wave the right to be readmitted to the Connecticut State Bar.
Sutton told News 12, “He is struggling with some serious mental and physical health situations, and he’s been struggling with those issues for quite some time which, you know, is really what led us to this point.”
Sutton said her client has been to two rehab facilities recently and was in the hospital, including Wednesday.
“I think that it was a history of some undiagnosed issues, and then some self-medicating and unfortunately that crescendo,” Sutton added. “It’s just a very sad situation all-around. Carl was a well-respected, well-liked attorney, good attorney until these health and physical issues came about. And first and foremost, it’s very sad for the victims. It’s too many victims and too much money and a lot of pain. But he really is quite remorseful and understands what’s going on here.”
Judge Kevin Randolph set Ferraro’s bond at $1 million, which Sutton said he cannot post at this point. If he’s able to in the future, he will be subject to GPS monitoring and a curfew.
Norwalk police said their investigation is ongoing. Anyone with further information is asked to contact Detective Sura at 203-854-3111.