Sherwood to testify against his co-defendant, forfeits more than $5.6M

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

Richard Sherwood, at left, stands before Judge Peter Lynch in December 2018.

GUILDERLAND — Former Guilderland town judge Richard Sherwood, who has pleaded guilty to felony charges, had his sentencing in federal court postponed for the second time on April 11 at the request of the prosecution. It is now scheduled for Oct. 2.

Thomas Lagan, who was arrested with Sherwood in February 2018, plans to plead not guilty, and Sherwood plans to testify against him, according to court documents.

The charges allege that the two worked together to steal more than $11 million from estates that they managed together.

Sherwood pleaded guilty in federal court in June 2018 to money-laundering and filing false income-tax returns, for which he faces up to 20 years in prison. He also pleaded guilty in county court to second-degree grand larceny, a felony, for which he faces three to 10 years in prison.

Following Sherwood’s guilty plea, the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, in July 2018, posted a preliminary order of forfeiture — giving third parties a chance to challenge claims — and a first final order was filed in January.

Judge Lawrence E. Kahn ordered Sherwood to forfeit, as Sherwood had previously agreed, $5,560,505, as well as 12 bank, credit-union, and other accounts, and a piece of property at 3055 S. Shore Drive in Galway, New York. As part of his plea in June 2018, Sherwood agreed to forfeit a property on Galway Lake that he said he and Lagan transferred from the ownership of their clients.

Lagan is charged in federal court on money-laundering and tax charges. Assistant United States Attorney Michael Barnett told The Enterprise earlier that, if convicted, Lagan would face up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of post-imprisonment supervised release. In county court, Lagan faces charges of first-degree grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, and a scheme to defraud.

Kahn granted the adjournment on March 22, in response to a request from Barnett. Barnett told The Enterprise that his office did not want to comment beyond any information in court filings.

After Sherwood had pleaded guilty in June to charges in federal and county court related to stealing millions of dollars from wealthy elderly clients in his private work as an attorney, he was suspended from his Guilderland judgeship by the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court. He was later disbarred retroactive to the date of his guilty plea to felony charges.

Federal court documents show that the federal jury trial of Lagan has been continued several times at the request of his attorney, E. Stewart Jones of E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy, based in Albany. In court documents, Jones has cited the expected volume of discovery documents, the fact that charges are pending in both federal and county court, and the complexity of the case as reasons for requesting the continuances.

Sherwood’s attorney William Dreyer, of Dreyer Boyajian LaMarche Safranko, with several offices in upstate New York, told The Enterprise earlier that a sentencing in county court scheduled for December had been postponed because the case against Lagan had not yet resolved.

Lagan’s trial is now scheduled for June 13 in Albany before Judge Kahn.

Sherwood has a return date in county court of June 5.

Neither Dreyer nor Jones returned calls asking for comment.

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