ALBANY, N.Y. – A Cooperstown man was sentenced Wednesday to six-and-a-half years in prison for money laundering after stealing roughly $11.8 million from estates for which he served as a fiduciary.
Thomas K. Lagan, 61, pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the first degree after admitting that between November of 2011 and February of 2018, he conspired with Richard J. Sherwood to launder money after defrauding the estates of three sisters in the Albany area.
Judge Lawrence E. Kahn also ordered Lagan to pay more than $7.7 million in restitution, and to forfeit the following as proceeds of his crimes: 10 bank and brokerage accounts; an additional $255,000 already paid to the government; three properties in Otsego County; a 2016 Mercedes Benz S550; a 2015 Jeep Wrangler Sport; a 2015 Lexus RX450; and a 2015 Sea-Doo jet ski and accompanying trailer.
Starting in 2006, Lagan and Sherwood provided estate planning and related legal services to philanthropists Warren and Pauline Bruggeman, and to Pauline’s sister, Anne Urban, all of Niskayuna, N.Y. They were advising the Bruggemans when they signed wills directing that all their assets go to charities, churches and civic organizations, aside from bequests to Pauline’s sisters, Anne Urban and Julia Rentz.
In pleading guilty, Lagan admitted that after Pauline’s death, he and Sherwood stole millions of dollars from her estate as well as from Urban, who died in 2013. They also transfered to themselves millions of dollars belonging to Rentz, a resident of Ohio, who was suffering from dementia at the time, and died in 2013.
Lagan admitted that in total, he and Sherwood stole $11,831,563, and that nearly $6.3 million was transferred outright to him.
Lagan also admitted to filing false federal tax returns in 2013 and 2015, when he did not report, as other income, millions of dollars that he received from the fraudulent scheme.