A.G. Schneiderman Announces Felony Conviction Of Fake Brooklyn Attorney
Michael Perlov Sentenced To 6 Months In Jail, 5 Years On Probation, And Ordered To Pay An Additional $28,000 In Restitution
Schneiderman: New Yorkers Seeking Legal Counsel Deserve To Know That The Professionals They Hire Will Defend Them – Not Take Advantage When They’re Most Vulnerable
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman recently announced the felony conviction of Mikhail Perlov, of Brooklyn, NY for posing as an attorney and defrauding multiple victims of tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. On May 4, 2017, Perlov pled guilty to Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree (Class D felony), five counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (Class D felony), two counts of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree (class E felony), one count of Practicing or Appearing as Attorney-at-Law Without Being Admitted and Registered (class E felony), two counts of None but Attorneys to Practice in the State (class E felony), and two counts of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree (class E felony). Today, Kings County Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth A. Foley sentenced Perlov to six months in jail and five years on probation, as well as ordered him to pay additional restitution totaling $28,150.
The Attorney General’s investigation revealed that Perlov illegally practiced law as an unlicensed attorney in Brooklyn from 2013 to 2016. Perlov later admitted to making court appearances on behalf of his clients who believed that he was a registered attorney and paid him over $68,000 in legal fees to represent them. Despite entering into a Consent Order and Judgment with the Attorney General’s Office in September 2015, which permanently banned him from misrepresenting himself as an attorney, Perlov continued illegally practicing law in Brooklyn.
“Brazenly continuing to operate an illegal law practice after being shut down by my office was the last strike for this defendant; now he’s going to jail and paying additional restitution,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “New Yorkers seeking legal counsel deserve to know that the professionals they hire will defend them – not take advantage when they’re most vulnerable.”
Pursuant to the 2015 Order and Judgment, Perlov disclosed the names of 51 of his clients and was ordered to pay over $40,000 in restitution to his victims and $10,000 in penalties. As part of his sentence today, Perlov was ordered to pay over $28,000 in additional restitution to the victims.
Perlov claimed to have a wide expertise and extensive experience practicing in New York, New Jersey, and Florida courts, and offered legal services related to criminal defense, commercial disputes, accidents, domestic violence, real estate and immigration matters. Perlov admitted that he maintained a law office and advertised legal services using the title “attorney” despite not having a license and not being admitted to practice law even after the 2015 Order and Judgment.
Additionally, Perlov admitted to defrauding his victims out of thousands of dollars. The Attorney General’s investigation revealed that in one instance, Perlov promised an elderly man that he would win him millions of dollars in a non-existent civil lawsuit. Perlov not only failed to ever file a lawsuit, but on occasion, Perlov himself used the victim’s ATM card to withdraw money directly from the victim’s bank account. The OAG’s investigation also revealed that in another instance, following a request from a divorce case client to freeze her husband’s bank account, Perlov provided the client with a forged letter from Chase bank.
As a reminder, attorneys must be licensed in the State of New York by the New York State Unified Court System, Office of Court Administration. If possible, before meeting or retaining an attorney, consumers should confirm his or her license on the OCA website: http://iapps.courts.state.NY.us/attorney/AttorneySearch.
If you are seeking legal representation outside of New York State, contact that state’s licensing authority to confirm that the person is in fact licensed to practice in that jurisdiction.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Yana G. Knutson with the assistance of Legal Analyst Jacques Courbe of the Attorney General’s Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau and Assistant Attorney General Matthew S. Eubank from the Attorney General’s Brooklyn Regional Office. The Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Stephanie Swenton. The Brooklyn Regional Office is part of the Attorney General’s Regional Division, led by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Offices Martin J. Mack.
The investigation was handled by Investigator Anna Ospanova with assistance from Deputy Chief Investigator John McManus and Supervising Investigator Sylvia Rivera. The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Dominick Zarrella.