A crooked lawyer took a plea deal Friday after swindling more than $600,000 from a Harlem church.
John Shasanmi, 39, copped to second-degree grand larceny and criminal possession of a forged instrument in exchange for 1.5 to 4.5 years in prison. A judgment was entered against him for $601,874.99.
“John Shasanmi had an obligation to act in his clients’ best interest, but instead, he chose to exploit the faith his clients placed in him by stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the sale of their historic Harlem church,” said Manhattan DA Cy Vance Jr. in a statement.
In 2014, Second Providence Baptist Church hired Shasanmi to broker an agreement with Azimuth Development to erect a residential building on their property on West 116th Street.
Azimuth forked over $600,000 to Shasanmi to be held in escrow, but the shady lawyer had the funds rerouted to his personal checking account, then sent the church’s pastor forged bank statements showing the full balance.
The scheme dissolved in 2017 when the pastor demanded that Shasanmi release the funds that he’d already spent.
SOURCE: Page Six – Rebecca Rosenberg