A Bayville insurance broker was arrested Wednesday for allegedly stealing nearly $180,000 from a client who thought she was purchasing essential insurance for her commercial properties, Nassau prosecutors said.
Gilante Lombardi, 42, was pleaded not guilty to grand larceny and was released without bail. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Between January 2005 and August 2007, Lombardi collected $179,556 from a Searingtown woman who thought she was paying insurance premiums on seven commercial properties that she owned but the insurance policy he had purchased had been canceled in June 2005 after Lombardi’s checks to the insurance company bounced, prosecutors said.
Lombardi kept collecting the victim’s checks and used them to pay for groceries, car repairs, medical expenses and retail purchases, according to investigators.
The theft was discovered in July 2007 when the victim tried to file a claim for damages after two of her properties suffered weather damage. Lombardi gave her several excuses as to why he had not filed a claim on her behalf before finally admitting in a voicemail that she had no coverage, prosecutors said.
The victim is also currently facing three lawsuits, including two slip-and-fall cases, with no insurance.
“This defendant abused his position and the trust of his client,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement. “He left an innocent property owner unprotected and financially vulnerable, and he will be held accountable for his actions.”
Lombardi’s attorney, Howard Birnbach, said: “He had purchased the insurance policy and I have a copy.” Birnbach added that he offered to represent the woman free of charge, but she declined.