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Attorney accused of stealing $500,000 from Orient woman’s estate

02/08/2017 8:21 PM |

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO

An East Hampton man whose license to practice law was suspended last year pleaded not guilty Wednesday to grand larceny charges alleging he diverted more than $500,000 from the estate of an Orient woman, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.

Kyle Lynch, 42, has also been accused of using the identity of Carl Irace, an attorney and a former associate at Bainton Lynch LLP, to secure a line of credit to divert an additional $50,000 to his business account.

“These alleged criminal acts are serious and display a pattern of disregard for the law, compounded by the defendant’s violating his oath as an attorney,” District Attorney Thomas Spota said in a statement Wednesday evening.

Mr. Lynch was charged by the East Hampton Village Police Department with three counts of grand larceny in the second degree, one count of grand larceny in the third degree, two counts of identity theft in the first degree and one count of unlawful possession of personal identification information. He was arraigned in East Hampton Town Justice Court, where bail was set at $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond, according to the DA’s office.

Mr. Lynch’s attorney, Craig McElwee, declined comment when reached by telephone Wednesday afternoon, saying he was still in court with his client, who New York State Bar Association records show was suspended indefinitely from practicing law in August 2016 “based upon his admitted incapacitation due to mental infirmity or illness.”

The alleged crimes began in 2014, according to the DA’s office, the same year Mr. Lynch sat down with The Suffolk Times for an interview about the late Helen Chalmers, the Orient woman whose estate he is now accused of stealing from. The newspaper had reached out to Mr. Lynch about a series of donations from her estate to various community groups. Several of the people accepting the donations had publicly stated they had never met Ms. Chalmers.

Mr. Lynch described his client as a private person who had lived largely in isolation since her husband’s death in 2008. She died in late 2013 after suffering injuries from a fall inside her Ryder Farm Lane home, Mr. Lynch said in 2014.

Helen Chalmers

Helen Chalmers

Mr. Lynch said his client, who was born in Montreal, had no close relatives living nearby, only some living down south and in other countries.

After the story was published in July 2014, The Suffolk Times began hearing from people who had read the story and claimed to be relatives of Ms. Chalmers. They disputed the attorney’s account of how Ms. Chalmers lived her life.

“Helen had lots of family and friends that over the years she was very generous to and involved with,” wrote a Canadian woman who identified herself as Ms. Chalmers’ niece in a comment on suffolktimes.com last year. “It was only after her move to Orient that she became removed and felt comfort in her isolation.”

The commenter, who could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday evening, is identified in a copy of Ms. Chalmers’ will given to The Suffolk Times by Mr. Lynch, who is identified as the executor of the will.

The will shows Ms. Chalmers left about $60,000 to friends and family and about $250,000 to various community organizations, including $150,000 to the Greenport School District. The remainder of her assets was to be donated to Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport, according to the will.

For much of her adult life, Ms. Chalmers worked as a cook for a wealthy banker and his wife on their estate in Oyster Bay, where she and her husband lived rent-free above a 10-car garage, Mr. Lynch and his father, James, the couple’s previous attorney told The Suffolk Times in 2014. Her husband had worked on the printing press at Newsday, they said.

In 2014, Kyle and James Lynch described the Chalmers’ as family friends.

Caption: Mr. Lynch peers over paperwork from Ms. Chalmers’ estate at his East Hampton office in 2014. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

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