Fort Lauderdale Bankruptcy Lawyer George Castrataro Busted For Stealing $625K From Clients
Fort Lauderdale bankruptcy lawyer George Castrataro was arrested Monday. Police charged Castrataro with grand theft and fraud. Prosecutors are accusing Castrataro of stealing $625,000 from his client’s estate accounts.
Prosecutors allege Castrataro stole the inheritances of his clients and then spent the proceeds of their estates. However, instead of paying them, he used it for himself. He illegally spent the money on personal expenses including dinners, car payments, and mortgage payments.
The warrant for his arrest states:
Castrataro was booked into the Broward County Jail on Monday, June 8th. He bonded himself out the same day on a $32,500 bond.
Castrataro is facing a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison. In addition, Castrataro is also looking at a sentence of at least 42 months recommended by Florida’s sentencing guidelines. Both charges are first degree felonies.
The Florida Supreme Court suspended Castrataro from practicing law in April. As a result of an independent Florida Bar audit of his trust accounts. The audit revealed that Castrataro was lying to the Bar and his clients.
The Bar sought and received an Emergency Order of Suspension. The Florida Bar also claimed that Castrataro’s conduct was causing great public harm. At the time, the Florida Bar had only alleged he had misappropriated $128,000 in clients’ funds.
As a result of the suspension, Castrataro filed a petition voluntarily resigning from the Florida Bar.
The Fort Lauderdale bankruptcy lawyer focused his practice on bankruptcy and estate planning. Castrataro had also distinguished himself in the LGBT community. He also launched an unsuccessful bid for city commission in Fort Lauderdale two years ago.
Victims Of Fort Lauderdale Bankruptcy Lawyer Speak Up
Victim Tundra King worked for the Fort Lauderdale Police Department for nearly 20 years. She thought she found an attorney she could trust:
After she paid him, the woman said, the attorney stopped returning her calls.
Police also said the victims hired Castrataro to represent them between 2019 and 2020.
Authorities said, “After the court would order authorizing distribution of assets to Castrataro into either the law firm’s escrow accounts or trust account, the money was never paid to the victims.”
Detectives also said Castrataro kept making up stories.