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New Jersey Lawyer Charged with Money Laundering
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An attorney from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, accused of stealing over $1 million from a client, has been indicted this week in connection with another theft. The attorney, Michael Kwasnik, diverted close to $325,000 from a couple in Williamstown who settled a personal injury lawsuit using his former firm last year. Kwasnik was previously charged with looting the account of a 96-year-old client from Cherry Hill on November 7.

“We are continuing to investigate him,” Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said.

  
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After the first indictment was announced, Kwasnik decided to flee the area. He was arrested only two days later in Alabama at a bus station. Kwasnik is being held on bail well over $1 million at the Camden County jail. After the announcement of the second indictment his bail was raised by $250,000.

Aside from the criminal charges, in November, the state filed a civil suit against Kwasnik, his father, and many others for defrauding close to 73 investors of over $8.5 million by selling unregistered securities.

“The allegations in our criminal and civil actions reveal a disturbing pattern in which Kwasnik has repeatedly violated the trust placed in him as an attorney and has ruthlessly taken advantage of elderly investors and clients,” said Chiesa.

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Kwasnik is formerly from South Jersey but currently resides in Philadelphia even though he has a law office in Cherry Hill. Officials also said that Kwasnik used money stolen from the couple in Williamstown for expenses while he was on the run.

According to the indictment, Kwasnik improperly transferred over $483,500 to a personal account. The money was for settlement funds that were deposited for clients in a trust account. The clients were working with Kwasnik, Kanowitz & Associates. Close to $324,000 of that total was planned for the couple in Williamstown, with the remainder of the money scheduled to go to law firm fees and expenses.



Right before the indictment was announced, the transfer of the money occurred. Officials said that Kwasnik withdrew over $8,000 in cash “while allegedly traveling in Florida to evade prosecution.” Authorities also found blank checks for the account on Kwasnik when he was apprehended.

Kwasnik was charged in the three-count indictment with theft by failure to make required disposition of property received, misapplication of entrusted property and money laundering.

In the original case against Kwasnik, he reportedly took over $1 million from a trust for the elderly woman and her children. Officials said that he was using the money for personal and business expenses.



 

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