Catch Arntsen If You Can: Accused Real Estate Lawyer Thief Faces the Music

After what may or may not have involved cinema-worthy cloak-and-dagger maneuvering on behalf of the authorities, Mr. Arntsen was eventually arrested in Hong Kong and held for four months, before being extradited to New York City.

Looking every bit as weary as expected following extradition from Hong Kong, Mr. Arntsen was led to the court in handcuffs and gave a quick nod to his wife, parents, and assorted family members, all bunched together in two rows of back benches.

After meeting with his attorney in a private conference booth near the side of the room, court officers ordered Mr. Arntsen to face Judge Abraham Clott, who listened stoically as the curious details of the 28-minute arraignment unfolded before a rapt audience of suspected criminals and their accusors.

Then the details of the aforementioned (and alleged) crimes cascaded: Mr. Arntsen set up 24 bank accounts at nine banks in an effort to scatter his pilfered funds. He stole $3 million from Regal Real Estate in 2010, followed by another $4 million in 2011. He used the money to pay off his family’s mortgages, Ms. Jacobs claimed. And, perhaps most strikingly, he targeted that yet-to-be-named firm in what prosecutors now describe as a $21 million embezzlement plot still under investigation.

Mr. Lewis pleaded with Judge Clott to release his client on bail. He said Mr. Arntsen’s parents were willing to post their house, at an estimated worth of $500,000, as collateral.

Instead, Judge Clott ordered Mr. Arntsen remanded into custody.

At the very least, might the good judge allot Mr. Arntsen’s a minute alone with his family before the departure, asked Mr. Lewis? “His family has not seen him in four months,” pleaded Mr. Lewis, showing signs of defeat following a valiant, albeit failed, bail request.

“That’s beyond my control,” replied Judge Clott.

After a moment, however, court and NYPD officers tightened into a circle. After a pregnant pause, they beckoned the family.

Then, in a hectic courtroom teeming with penny-ante suspects and haggard supporters, Judge Clott emptied the benches so that, for a brief moment, an unremarkable man, charged with a decidedly remarkable crime, could be alone with his family.



Catch Arntsen If You Can: Accused Real Estate Lawyer Thief Faces the Music