A Shillington lawyer has been charged with taking $120,000 from an escrow account he set up on behalf of a client who disputed what a Harrisburg law firm claimed as its share of a civil settlement.
Berks County detectives, with assistance from Northern Berks Regional police, arrested Michael J. Cammarano, 42, at his residence in Ontelaunee Township on Wednesday.
Investigators said Cammarano, whose general-practice, family-owned law firm is on Lancaster Avenue in Shillington, conspired with his client, Joseph M. Nebroskie, 48, of Orwigsburg, to misappropriate the funds they knew were in dispute, leaving the account with just a penny.
Cammarano was committed to the county prison in lieu of $25,000 bail after video arraignment before District Judge David L. Yoch to await a hearing on charges of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, receiving stolen property and conspiracy.
Nebroskie, who faces similar charges, turned himself in Wednesday afternoon to Berks detectives and was pending arraignment.
Detectives with the Berks district attorney’s office provided this account:
On Jan. 13, detectives were contacted by officials of the law firm Andreozzi + Foote, a civil law firm in Harrisburg. The firm was retained in late 2019 by Nebroskie for his suit against a third party.
Nebroskie entered into a written contract with Andreozzi + Foote whereby the law firm would collect 30 percent of the settlement for its fee.
The law firm negotiated a settlement of Nebroskie’s suit totaling $400,000, of which Andreozzi + Foote could get $120,000. Nebroskie rejected the settlement and hired Cammarano, who later advised his client to accept the $400,000 settlement.
Bank records indicated:
Andreozzi + Foote agreed Nebroskie’s portion of the settlement, $280,000, should be released to Nebroskie, but asked the disputed $120,000 for legal fees be held pending litigation.
Cammarano notified Andreozzi + Foote by email that he would hold the disputed portion of the settlement. A trust account under the name “Cammarano & Cammarano PC Nebroskie” was established at Customers Bank on Oct. 15, 2019.
Andreozzi + Foote subsequently discovered the account had been depleted, and found bank records indicated Cammarano wrote multiple checks to Nebroskie from that trust fund, independent of the disputed $280,000 from the settlement.
In early February of this year, two detectives met with Nebroskie. He said he accepted the settlement offer on the advice of Cammarano after hiring him to represent him in the civil matter. Nebroskie said he paid no fee to Cammarano because Cammarano owed him money after Nebroskie agreed to loan him $10,000 in December 2019.
Nebroskie said he was aware that a portion of the settlement funds, $120,000, was being withheld in dispute of the legal fees allegedly owed Andreozzi + Foote. Nebroskie said he assumed Cammarano had authorization to have the money released.
He said there were times he asked Cammarano for his money and Cammarano would release portions from the trust fund. Nebroskie said he subsequently discovered multiple transfers from this account to an account belonging to Cammarano. When confronted by Nebroskie, Cammarano claimed he had inadvertently logged into the wrong account and mistakenly transferred money.
Nebroski said of the disputed $120,000, he received $85,000 while Cammarano received $35,000.
- Sa'ar denies Likud talks, but says vote to renew civil law for settlers must pass
- Basic Japanese Civil Law - US News SkillBuilder
- Pamplin Media Group - Students in Sauvie Island gain experience with civil law
- Knesset debate over Civil Law in Israel threatens protections on settlers
- Civil rights attorneys, police review footage of Black man paralyzed in back of Connecticut police van