Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced today that Matthew Kirnan, 52, of Ramsey entered a guilty plea admitting he stole $750,000 from three clients he was representing in real estate and other legal transactions.
Kirnan, a disbarred attorney, represented himself, when he pleaded guilty on July 16 to three counts of theft by deception before the Honorable Sherry Hutchins-Henderson, J.S.C.
Under the terms of a plea agreement, Kirnan, who is a former mayor of Verona, is expected to be sentenced to seven years when he is sentenced on Sept. 28.
Between 2009 and 2010, while practicing law in West Caldwell, Kirnan received money from two people at closings that was supposed to be used to pay off outstanding real estate mortgages. Instead of paying off the mortgages, Kirnan stole the money. On a third occasion, during that same period, Kirnan received money as part of an estate following a death. He was supposed to use the funds deposited in his attorney trust account to pay inheritance taxes but never did.
“This defendant was a trusted attorney and a respected member of the community, who used that trust to take advantage of unsuspecting members of the public,’’ said Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor Walter Dirkin, who handled the case.