A former Red Bank-based lawyer faces up to 12 years in prison following his admission Tuesday that he stole a house in Locust from the estate of his late landlord and ripped off clients to the tune of more than half a million dollars.
In a prepared statement, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said the disbarred 39-year-old lawyer, Alex Iler of Atlantic Highlands, pleaded guilty to stealing real property from the estate of a deceased woman and embezzling money from other clients.
Iler entered guilty pleas to one count of second degree theft of immovable property and one count of second degree theft by deception before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Francis Vernoia.
An investigation by the prosecutor’s office revealed Iler fraudulently assumed ownership of the property, in the Locust section of Middletown, when a deed bearing the forged signature of the purported seller was recorded at the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office.
At the time of the purported transfer, the land was owned by the estate of a woman from whom Iler had been leasing the property, and no sale of the property had actually taken place, Gramiccioni said. The fraudulent deed purported to reflect a transfer of the property to Iler for $575,000 in December 2011. Iler later used the property to secure more than $1 million in mortgage borrowings.
Iler was arrested last October and remanded to the Monmouth County Correctional Institution on $250,000 bail, as set by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Richard English.
He was arrested a second time just three weeks ago, after further investigation revealed Iler had stolen “in excess of $500,000″ from former clients of his Broad Street law practice, Gramiccioni said. Bail on that charge was set at $200,000.
In light of those charged, Iler also pleaded guilty to four counts each of theft by failure to make required disposition of property received
Under a plea deal, prosecutors will recommend Iler be sentenced to an aggregate term of 12 years in New Jersey State Prison. The agreement also calls for the entry of a civil judgment against Iler in the amount of $572,753.43. Sentencing, by Vernoia, is scheduled for October 8.
Assistant Prosecutor Andrew S. Fried of the prosecutor’s financial crimes and public corruption bureau handled the state’s case. Iler is represented by Dean Schneider of Red Bank.
Here’s the deed in question: Spangenberg – Iler Deed