BREAKING NEWS: Barasch & McGarry Blows the Whistle on Corrupt VCF Lawyer Who Stole $1 Million from Disabled NYPD Officer – And, Recovers $400,000 for the Victim!
Disgraced Westchester attorney Gustavo L. Vila appeared in White Plains Federal Court yesterday to plead guilty to stealing a $1 million Victim Compensation Fund award from his former client, disabled NYPD officer and 9/11 first responder John Ferreyra. Vila is also a retired police officer, a position he used to gain Officer Ferreyra’s trust and ultimately to betray it. Ferreyra was diagnosed with a 9/11-related cancer in 2004, had a life-saving stem cell transplant in 2012, and is thankfully in remission today.
“We are honored to have been called by Officer Ferreyra, so we could justly expose this scam,” said the firm’s managing attorney Mike Barasch. “9/11 advocate John Feal, and several of Mr. Ferrayra’s fellow police officers suggested that he call me to inquire why his VCF payout had been delayed more than three years. Firm partner Bruce Kaye, a former Ass’t District Attorney, and I knew immediately that his attorney had stolen the funds. We reported the theft to the Victim Compensation Fund, which in turn triggered an investigation by the Dept. Of Justice. We also reported Mr. Vila to the U.S. Southern District Attorney’s office. The FBI then commenced its own investigation. Last month, Vila was arrested. Yesterday, he plead guilty. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in Federal prison.”
We are pleased to report that once Vila was arrested, we submitted a claim to the New York State Lawyers Fund for Client Protection on Mr. Ferreyra’s behalf. The Fund, whose mission is to protect legal consumers from dishonest lawyers, just awarded Mr. Ferreyra $400,000 as partial restitution. This is the maximum amount allowed under their charter.
We are honored to represent Mr. Ferreyra at no fee, and we will not rest until we recover the balance of Mr. Ferreyra’s VCF award.