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Post date: May 7 2002

Law Center Executive Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy

Attorney General Spitzer and New York State Police Superintendent James McMahon today announced that a Saratoga County man employed by the debt reduction firms operated by disbarred attorney, Andrew Capoccia, has pled guilty to conspiring with Capoccia and others to steal more than $1 million of client funds.

The defendant - Jerry Forkey, 53, of Clifton Park - pled guilty to Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony before Judge Thomas Breslin in Albany County Court. His sentencing has been scheduled for August 20, 2002. He faces a maximum of 1 and 1/3 to 4 years in state prison and a maximum fine equal to twice the amount money gained from the crime.

As part of his plea, Forkey admitted that he entered an illegal agreement with Capoccia and others to steal money from clients of the Law Centers for Consumer Protection, a debt reduction firm with its main offices in Colonie, New York and Bennington, Vermont. The firm was previously known as the Andrew F. Capoccia Law Centers.

"This plea by a high ranking executive of the Law Centers represents an important step in this continuing investigation, which we are pursuing with the New York State Police and federal authorities in Vermont, " Spitzer said.

Until recently, Forkey had been employed as the Executive Director of the Law Centers. In court he admitted that he agreed with Capoccia and others to steal client escrow and unearned retainer funds totaling more than $1,000,000. He further admitted that as part of the conspiracy, he authorized the transfer of $200,000 to the account of Carol Capoccia, the wife of Andrew F. Capoccia.

As part of the plea, Forkey has agreed to cooperate with New York and federal authorities in the continuing investigation of the Law Centers.

In a separate court proceeding, Spitzer's office has filed a civil case against Capoccia Law firms which have operated under various names including: The Debt Resolution Center of Albany, LLC; The Cilingiryan, Murphy, Sinnott and Capoccia Law Centers, LLC; and the Law Centers for Consumer Protection.

This case is being handled for Spitzer's office by Assistant Attorney Generals Alan Blumenkopf and Stephen Maher under the supervision of William Comiskey, Deputy Bureau Chief of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau. Senior Investigator Michael Franks of the Attorney General's Investigations Bureau and New York State Police Investigator Thomas Hotaling of the Special Investigation Unit are conducting the investigation together with agents of the Burlington, Vermont office of the FBI and the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Vermont.