New York Attorney General Announces Fraud Charges Against Empire Capital Trust’s Thomas Lagan

Thomas LaganPublicly available records provided by the New York Attorney General’s Office and accessed on July 11, 2018 indicate that the state’s Attorney General, Barbara Underwood, has obtained a grand jury indictment of financial advisor Thomas Lagan, as well as former judge Richard Sherwood, in connection to allegations that the two “orchestrated a complex scheme to steal millions from trusts they were supposed to protect.” Fitapelli Kurta is interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding Mr. Lagan.

According to the state’s complaint, the defendants offered estate planning and related service, both legal and financial, to “Capital Region philanthropists Warren and Pauline Bruggeman and Pauline Bruggeman’s sister, Anne Urban, since at least 2006.” Each of these clients had created a revocable trust, with sub-trusts for Anne Urban as well as Pauline Bruggeman’s other sister, Julia Rentz; there were also “other funds… to be awarded to Anne Urban and Julia Rentz outright” after the Bruggemans’ deaths, per the complaint. When the Anne S. Urban Irrevocable Trust was established in 2007, “using some of the funds from the Bruggeman trusts,” Mr. Sherwood was named as Trustee while Mr. Lagan was named as a Successor Trustee.

The complaint alleges that funds through the Anne S. Urban Irrevocable Trust were improperly disposed: though one sub-trust containing about two million dollars was intended “to be returned to the Pauline Bruggemen Revocable Trust for distribution to six named charities upon Anne Urban’s death,” according to the complaint, those funds were instead disposed through the Anne S. Urban Irrevocable Trust “primarily for the benefit of Sherwood and Lagan.” The defendants also allegedly participated in a conspiracy “to deceive an Ohio attorney” into transferring more than two million dollars’ of Julia Rentz’s funds to the trust, “under the premise it would be sent to charity,” when in fact Mr. Sherwood and Mr. Lagan “shared” the funds. The complaint states that they created an entity called the Empire Capital Trust “to benefit themselves,” funding it with more than $1,000,000 in ill-gotten funds: “In January 2015, they allegedly transferred $3,598,908 from AUIT to a Trustco Bank account in Sherwood’s name and $2,693,865.92 from the AUIT to a Trustco Bank account in Lagan’s name.”

Mr. Lagan has been charged with two counts of Grand Larceny in the First Degree, two counts of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, and one count of Scheme to Defraud. Mr. Sherwood pleaded guilty in June to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree. He faces as much as three to ten years in prison. As the complaint emphasizes with respect to Mr. Lagan, however, “The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.”

If you or someone you know has complaints regarding Thomas Lagan, call Fitapelli Kurta at 877-238-4175 for a free consultation. You may be entitled to recover lost funds. All cases are taken on a contingency basis: we only receive payment if and when you collect money. Time to file your claim may be limited, so we suggest you avoid delay. Call 877-238-4175 now to speak to an attorney for free.

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