Disbarred Cranford-based attorney admits to stealing from clients

ELIZABETH –A West Orange man who once managed a Cranford-based law practice has admitted to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from half a dozen clients, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park announced Tuesday.

Appearing Monday before state Superior Court Judge Robert Mega, 41-year-old Sergio Pastor pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree theft by failure to make required disposition, four counts of third-degree theft by failure to make required disposition, and a single count of fourth-degree unauthorized practice of law.

Pastor illegally made off with a total of approximately $362,000 using a variety of methods, including misappropriating assets from the estate of a deceased client and siphoning funds out of a trust account for another client’s pending real estate transaction, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Ann Rubin, who is prosecuting the case.

Pastor was suspended from practicing law by the New Jersey Supreme Court in August 2012, but nonetheless continued to represent clients in legal matters up until the time of his arrest in Kenilworth Municipal Court in March 2013, said Rubin, of the prosecutor’s office’s Special Prosecutions Unit.

The New Jersey Supreme Court ordered Pastor disbarred in June 2013. Sentencing for Pastor, who was released on $150,000 bail following his arrest, has been scheduled for Feb. 7, when he is expected to face a term of 7 to 11 years in state prison.