“I actually know your lawyer … he has worked hard on behalf of first responders over the years and I appreciate very much the fact that he is willing to do that for you without getting paid.” “Talk about honorable … thank you Mr. Barasch”
—Vincent L. Briccetti, US District Court Judge at the sentencing of former attorney Gustavo Vila
As we reported in our last 9/11 Newsletter, we “blew the whistle” on a corrupt attorney who stole $900,000 from John Ferreyra, a 9/11-disabled cop. John was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. But for a bone marrow donation from a total stranger, John would not have survived. He lost his career, but not his life. The Victim Compensation Fund awarded him over $1 Million. This would have given the Ferreyra family financial security.
John never suspected that Gustavo Vila, his former attorney, who was also a friend and an ex-cop, would steal $900,000 of his award.
Mike Barasch reported the theft to the Department of Justice which led to the arrest, plea and a well-deserved 51-month sentence for Mr. Vila.
Barasch, who has represented Mr. Ferreyra pro bono, also helped secure a $400,000 compensation payment from the NYS Lawyers Fund as partial restitution. This is the maximum amount allowed under their charter. The Lawyer’s Fund is supported by a fee imposed on all practicing attorneys.
In levying the maximum prison sentence, Judge Briccetti described the betrayal as “disgusting, crazy and simply inexcusable”.
In addition to the 51-month prison term, Vila was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay Ferreyra restitution in the amount of $867,871.
Our firm will continue to fight for the return of John Ferreyra’s full VCF award. Most importantly, John’s cancer remains in remission.