STAMFORD — A judge berated a disbarred attorney who has repaid less than $400 of the more than $600,000 he stole from his former car dealership client.
Benson Snaider, 79, pleaded guilty in April 2012 to first-degree larceny for misappropriating an $800,000 check from the City of Stamford to Minchin Buick in 2005 as a partial payment for its property to construct the Stamford Urban Transitway.
Snaider was given a five-year-suspended sentence, five years probation and ordered to pay $680,000 in restitution.
Snaider’s probation was violated in January because he had only paid $180 since his conviction, according to court records. Snaider has since made another $200 in payments to the state’s Client Security Fund, which pays victims who lost money or property because of a dishonest attorney. The fund reimbursed Minchin for its loss.
The fund is comprised of yearly contributions from every lawyer in the state, including public defenders and prosecutors, like Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Maureen Ornousky, who argued the state’s position against Snaider at the Stamford courthouse on Thursday.
Judge Gary White asked Snaider, who was represented by public defender Howard Ehring, if he was able to pay his taxes and the mortgage and fees for his condo.
Ehring replied that his client has been making those payments, prompting White to argue Snaider has the funds to make restitution to the fund.
White told Snaider to return to court on April 20 with $2,000.
If he appeared a “penny short,” White threatened to send Snaider to jail.
Snaider wrote a letter to the court after his parole was violated, arguing his only income is $2,100 a month from Social Security. He said he barely has enough money for living expenses.
“The amount imposed was on it’s face impossible to obtain,” he wrote.
Snaider also called his parole violation “unjust,” because the fund had already reimbursed Minchin and he did not have the assets to pay the restitution.
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