Former Philadelphia Attorney Pleads Guilty to Stealing Estate Funds from Clients
PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Harris Roy Rosen, 65, of Sag Harbor, New York, pleaded guilty before United States District Court Judge Wendy Beetlestone to fraud charges stemming from a scheme to steal funds from his clients.
The defendant, an attorney who practiced law in Philadelphia through the business Rosen and Rosen PC, was charged by Information in February 2020 with wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and tax evasion. From approximately 2013 through 2017, he perpetrated a complex fraud scheme through which he stole settlement and estate funds from his clients to support his lavish lifestyle, including the purchase of homes in both Philadelphia and the Hamptons, NY, and a Mercedes-Benz vehicle. As part of the scheme, Rosen routinely lied to clients about the status of their funds; forged clients’ names on settlement checks to deposit them into his personal bank accounts; forged checks to steal money from a client; and created fake bank statements to lull clients into believing that their settlement or estate funds were in appropriate bank accounts waiting to be disbursed. Ultimately, many clients did not get any of the settlement or estate funds to which they were entitled. Rosen also intentionally failed to file tax returns to avoid reporting his illicit income.
Through his fraud scheme, the defendant defrauded clients of approximately $796,000. Based upon his evasion of federal taxes, he has a criminal tax due and owing to the Internal Revenue Service of approximately $261,000.
“Attorneys work in positions of trust and therefore must be held to the highest standards of ethical conduct,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “In this case, Rosen took advantage of his clients and swindled them in order to bankroll his lifestyle. That is reprehensible. My Office will continue to protect the public against fraudsters like Rosen who abuse their positions of trust.”
“Rosen funded his lavish lifestyle with money he stole from his clients,” said Michael Montanez, Acting Special Agent in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation. “Rosen utilized various means to conceal his theft from his clients and evade his tax liability. At this time of year, when hard-working Americans are sitting down to prepare their tax returns, it is especially disappointing to see the overt steps some individuals will take to hide their taxable income from the government.”
“Put simply, this is a case about greed and the abuse of trust,” said Tara A. McMahon, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “For years, Harris Rosen lived extravagantly on the money he stole from his clients. While they counted on him to act in their best interests, he considered only his own. The FBI will always work to shut down fraudsters like this, bring justice for their victims, and protect the public.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigative Division, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lesley S. Bonney.