Lawyer Accused of Stealing Millions Expected to Plead Guilty, Sources Say
MANHATTAN — A lawyer arrested after fleeing to Hong Kong when he was accused of stealing $10 million from a real estate client is expected to plead guilty in aManhattan court as early as Tuesday afternoon, DNAinfo.com New York has learned.
In exchange for the plea, former high-flying attorney Douglas Arntsen, 34, is expected to receive a four-to-12 year sentence in prison. He had previously tried to convince authorities to allow him to serve a short sentence in a state corrections “Shock” program, generally available to lesser offenders and those seeking early release from prison.
Arntsen, a former lawyer at Crowell & Moring, was accused of stealing millions from the Regal Real Estate firm in lower Manhattan by transferring brokerage fees that were supposed to be placed in escrow into his personal bank accounts.
After trying to cover his tracks with false checks and documents, Arntsen lead investigators on an international manhunt after he tricked a colleague into thinking he was going to take him to Hong Kong to retrieve his hidden ill-gotten funds in September 2001 to make restitution.
Instead, he skipped out of the country alone.
When Arntsen, a married father of a young child, finally returned to the U.S., law enforcement officers who had been alerted to his movements were there to meet him.
Last June, Arntsen was recorded in a jailhouse telephone call to his mother explaining how he had just learned of the “Shock” incarceration program, which he described as a military-style boot camp that would leave him in the best “shape in (his) life.”
“You start doing push-ups. And then you get up and then you run. Then you go for lunch. And then you got to make your bed,” he said. “I’m dying to get into this thing.”
Sources say any chance for "Shock" incarceration will have to wait until he serves time in state prison.