East Hampton Attorney Admits Stealing From Clients

East Hampton Village Police Officer Jack Bartelme led Kyle Lynch into East Hampton Town Justice Court on Wednesday morning, accompanied by Detective Steven Sheades. T.E. McMorrow

The East Hampton attorney who stole money from the estate of a deceased North Fork resident, as well as from a lawyer who worked at his firm in East Hampton, pleaded guilty in Suffolk County Court in Riverside on Friday to eight charges, including six felonies. New York Supreme Court Justice Mark Cohen is expected to confirm Kyle Thomas Lynch's plea-bargained sentence for two to six years on June 19, with most of the time expected to be served outside of prison, on parole. He was indicted by a grand jury on Sept. 8.

Mr. Lynch, a partner in the now defunct Bainton Lynch law firm, which was on Muchmore Lane in East Hampton Village, was arrested on Feb. 8, 2017, after a year-and-a-half, multi-agency investigation. Most of the crimes he admitted having committed occurred in 2014 and 2015.

Mr. Lynch took $579,247.36 in checks made out to Bainton Lynch, from the estate of Helen Chalmers, an Orient resident who died in the fall of 2013, and he deposited it into the business account of his law firm. He spent the money both for his firm and himself. He also took out and used credit cards in the name of Carl Irace, who was an associate attorney at the firm at the time, running up charges of $60,894.81. Mr. Irace brought Mr. Lynch's thievery to the attention of the police when he noticed discrepancies in his credit card statements.

A third victim was Thomas Rudegeair, a client of the firm. Mr. Lynch stole about $85,000 from an escrow account being held for Mr. Rudegeair.

Among the charges Mr. Lynch pleaded guilty to were four counts of grand larceny. The other felony charges were two counts of identity theft. He also pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of unlawful possession of personal identification information.

According to the district attorney's office, Mr. Lynch will initially be in a downstate correctional facility, most likely Fishkill. He will then be incarcerated at the Willard Drug Treatment Campus in Seneca County. If he completes a 90-plus-day, boot-camp drug treatment program there, he will be taken back to the downstate facility and released on parole for the remainder of his sentence.