Last Thursday, Frederick J. Neroni, a lawyer who runs a law office in Delhi, was stripped of his law license by a five-judge panel of the Third Judicial Department of the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court for "fraudulent conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice."
In its order, which you can read below, the judges wrote that they were disbarring Neroni because of several different episodes of troubling behavior, including his 1992 conviction for filing a false tax return. But the Appellate Division judges found that Neroni's most disturbing behavior happened in 2006, when he advised Andrew Mokay Sr. and his girlfriend, Connie Mokay, about how to hang onto several parcels of property after Mokay's divorce from another woman.
The details are in Mokay v. Mokay, a 2009 decision, also by the Third Judicial Department of the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court.
According to that decision, Neroni schemed with Andrew Mokay Sr. and Connie Mokay to unravel a judicial order in the divorce case that required Andrew Mokay Sr. to give two parcels of land to his five children when he died.
Neroni crafted a plan to secretly transfer the deeds to the properties to Andrew Mokay Sr. and Connie Mokay and without alerting his children, Andrew Mokay, Daniel Mokay, David Mokay, Patricia Knapp and Christine Reed. First, Andrew Sr. and Connie had to get married. Then Neroni transfered the land to them as man and wife.
When Mokay Sr. died later in 2006, his new wife inherited the properties. The kids sued, and eventually Neroni was found to have committed fraud and collusion. From the court's 2009 decision, all of which you can read by clicking here:
Neroni suggested to decedent shortly after the divorce various schemes to attempt to circumvent the transfer and, when decedent elected one of those schemes, Neroni prepared the documents he had advised would successfully accomplish the nefarious goal.
In addition to his legal ethics troubles, Neroni has a case file with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. In 2009, Neroni was fined $5,000 by the DEC for building a pond on a tributary of the West Branch of the Delaware River that ran through his Hamden property.
8:40pm correction: An earlier version of this story erroneously stated that Neroni's license was removed by the Committee on Professional Standards, the body that reviews attorney complaints before referring them to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.D-31-11 Neroni