New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey S. Berman announced that Gregory Bayard was sentenced to 24 months in prison in White Plains federal court for embezzling approximately $1.4 million from a decedent's estate for which he served as a court-appointed administrator. Bayard had pled guilty to one count of wire fraud on October 23, 2018. U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel imposed today’s sentence.
"Mr. Bayard abused the trust placed in him and pocketed $1.4 million from an estate he was appointed to protect,” DiNapoli said. “Thanks to our investigation and partnership with United States Attorney Berman and the Postal Inspection Service, we uncovered Mr. Bayard’s fraud and now he faces justice for his crimes. We will continue to fight corruption wherever we find it.”
U.S. Attorney Berman said: “Gregory Bayard was obligated to ensure that the assets of a decedent he represented were protected and that the rightful beneficiaries received their inheritances. But Bayard disregarded his fiduciary duties when he embezzled more than $1.4 million from his client’s estate. Now, a judge has ordered him to repay the estate and spend two years behind bars.”
According to the allegations contained in court documents:
Bayard was appointed administrator of the estate of a former resident of Mt. Vernon by the Surrogate’s Court in 2008. His duties as administrator included collecting the assets of the estate. As an administrator, Bayard had a fiduciary duty to the estate and to the decedent’s son, the sole beneficiary of his father’s will. New York law provides for a fee to estate administrators like Bayard based on a percentage of the value of the estate’s assets.
In 2009, the decedent’s son retained an attorney and filed a motion in the Surrogate’s Court to remove Bayard as the administrator of his father’s estate. While the motion was pending, Bayard embezzled more than $1.4 million from the estate’s bank account. From June 2011 to June 2012, Bayard wrote approximately 14 checks totaling more than $435,000 from the estate’s account to himself. From December 2012 to May 2016, Bayard caused more than 70 electronic wire transfers of a total of more than $1 million from the estate’s account to his personal account. Bayard spent the money on home renovations, college tuition, and other personal expenses, and transferred some of the money to family members.
In addition to the prison term, Bayard, 59, of Scotch Plains, New Jersey, was sentenced to three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,457,739.
U.S. Attorney Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the New York State Comptroller. This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney James McMahon is in charge of the prosecution.