the financial brigade on the back of the Sarfaty law firm

THEwhere did the money go for some of M’s customersand Pierre Sarfaty? Who benefited? Since when ? The financial brigade has been investigating for several months on suspicions of fraudulent movements within the Sarfaty & associates law firm.

The investigation has just marked a big boost this Monday, October 11 since Pierre Sarfaty, 65, and Romain Nicolli, a 32-year-old lawyer, “handyman”, “courier” or “driver” of Pierre Sarfaty, according to testimonies collected in recent weeks, have been…

THEwhere did the money go for some of M’s customersand Pierre Sarfaty? Who benefited? Since when ? The financial brigade has been investigating for several months on suspicions of fraudulent movements within the Sarfaty & associates law firm.

The investigation has just marked a big boost this Monday, October 11 since Pierre Sarfaty, 65, and Romain Nicolli, a 32-year-old lawyer, “handyman”, “courier” or “driver” of Pierre Sarfaty, according to testimonies collected in recent weeks, were placed in police custody to be heard simultaneously by the financial brigade in Poitiers (Vienne). The home of Romain Nicolli, in Saint-Sauvant, between Saintes and Cognac, was searched in the morning.

Searches at the end of April

No surprise for the two men who knew that an investigation had been aimed at suspicious movements for more than a year. The firm, located close to the Saintes courthouse, was searched at the end of April. Pierre Sarfaty even opened up directly about his setbacks during a recent meeting about a file he was defending, in this case, ironically, a client nicknamed “the Madoff of Saint- Jean-d’Angely.

So what’s going on? Since 1985, lawyers must channel all sums resulting from a judgment, a transaction with insurance, etc. on the account of the Carpa (Case for pecuniary settlements for lawyers). However, the money of some of the customers would have made a direct trip to the professional accounts of Mand Sarfaty.

Preparing for the counter-offensive and relying on an internal audit launched in July 2021, the lawyer recognized between 300,000 euros and 400,000 euros of stolen money and said he was doing everything possible to pay their due to injured clients. All this through IOUs but also through the expected sale of assets of the law firm that are the buildings in Saintes (624,000 euros according to the announcement of a real estate agency), Jonzac and Saint-Jean- d’Angely. The lawyer said he was also struggling to follow up with customers to collect, according to him, around 150,000 euros in unpaid invoices.

Dismissals

In essence, the lawyer would assume a responsibility but not a culpability, according to the formula now consecrated. Mand Sarfaty placing the blame on his former young collaborator, whom he considered “like a son” and who according to him would have diverted all or part of the money for his own benefit. He filed a complaint against Romain Nicolli at the Saintes police station in July. In addition, a labor court procedure opposes the lawyer and the lawyer, who has not set foot in the firm since February.

Allergic to accounting, Mand Could Sarfaty ignore the complaints of his customers who were waiting for their money? Sometimes for more than two years, as an alleged victim told us, weary and exhausted of Mr.and Sarfaty. This is the money from the sale of a family house near Royan. Or 205,000 euros before fees and miscellaneous costs.

“Dividing”

In another file, the money for a very long divorce procedure has been collected but the 135,000 euros have not reached the accounts of the ex-wife defended by Mand Sarfaty. The two former spouses were heard by the financial brigade, at the same time. In another register, another client, very affected or even scared, claims to have handed over 10,500 euros in cash, in particular “by slipping an envelope under the door of the Jonzac cabinet”, in order to pay Mand Sarfaty. And this, after paying two checks for 3,000 euros. He too was auditioned.

Accounting, the accounting firm, the banks, the associated lawyers have they seen nothing? What was the real role of Romain Nicolli? Partner in crime ? Ideal culprit? According to our information, the latter deposited the checks at the bank and made purchases, certainly on his own behalf but also for Mrs.and Sarfaty and relatives. “We don’t say no to Mr. Sarfaty”, comments laconicly a witness who, more sharply, considers that many have benefited “for a long time” from the largesse of the lawyer. An oh so “dividing” character as M calls himselfand Sarfaty.

A disciplinary body

If justice investigates, it is not the only one. At the same time, the Council of the Order of the Bar of Saintes has indeed seized the Regional Disciplinary Council. The Bâtonnière Me Blanche Rouxel did not respond to our requests. The disciplinary body received several alleged victims as well as Me Sarfaty. If a fault was recognized, the penalties incurred would range from a warning to removal from the list of lawyers. The “case” has been fueling the rumors of the halls of the Saintes courthouse for months, with only one fear: that it will splash the image of the Saintes bar. “It’s a flight of sparrows”, summarizes in her own way a dissatisfied client of Me Sarfaty, targeting the departure of the two associated lawyers to the bar of La Rochelle, just before the summer.

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