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Former West Caldwell Attorney Sentenced

Disbarred attorney Matthew Kirnan of Ramsey receives 7-year jail sentence for stealing $750,000 in mortgage, inheritance funds from clients.

Former West Caldwell attorney Matthew Kirnan was sentenced Monday to seven years in state prison for stealing $750,000 from three clients, officials at the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office said.

Kirnan, 52, a disbarred lawyer from Ramsey, was sentenced by state Superior Court Judge Sherry Hutchins-Henderson after pleading guilty before the same judge on July 18.

Between 2009 and 2010, Kirnan, who practiced real estate law, admitted to pocketing money that was supposed to be used to pay two clients' outstanding mortgages, as well as money another client was to use to pay inheritance taxes.

Instead of depositing the money in his attorney trust account and using it for the intended purpose, Kirnan stole the money, the prosecutor’s office said.

The judge noted Kirnan had previously been arrested by the FBI for filing fraudulent IRS documents and was on one-year probation for practicing law under false impression in Bergen County. 

“The law works no matter who you are,” said Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor Walter Dirkin, who handled the case. “Whether you’re someone who holds himself out as respectable in the community or whether you’re an average citizen, you can’t go from contrition to redemption without consequences. Every time Mr. Kirnan has been put in a position of trust, he abused it.”

Kirnan was mayor of Verona from 1997 to 1999.

gregory l. mitchell October 15, 2012 at 08:21 PM
7 years! that's a slap on the wrist as far as i'm concerned! He subverted the trust of his clients taking advantage of them with their public trust in him.Hopefully,when he comes out he'll wind up pumping gas-MAKE SURE YA COUNT YER CHANGE!!!!! Gregory L. Mitchell,West Caldwell
Cj October 16, 2012 at 12:02 PM
He was on a one year probation for filing false IRS documents. Obviously he didnt learn from that. He gets 7 years for this and will probably be out in 2 or 3. This is an injustice to the people he stole from.
Kevin B October 16, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Is he from West Caldwell or Ramsey?
Teresa Akersten October 16, 2012 at 02:37 PM
His most current residence was Ramsey but his practice was in West Caldwell.
Kevin B October 16, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Thank you for the clarification.

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