A Hazlet attorney has been arrested for allegedly stealing $285,000 from his clients, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced in a press release.
Steven H. Salami, 44, of Hazlet, was arrested Friday, Oct. 4 following an investigation in which prosecutors say they discovered he stole $285,000 from four victims from April, 2019 through August, 2019. He has been charged with two counts of misapplication of entrusted property, second degree crimes; and three counts of misapplication of entrusted property, third degree crimes.
Salami is a practicing attorney with a law office located in Hazlet. According to his own website, he moved to the township is 2004 and practiced law practice at his 221 Middle Road, at Poole Avenue, before relocating to 58 Village Court.
Salami is currently being held in the county jail in Freehold pending a detention hearing.
As a real estate attorney, prosecutors say Salami took funds from each victim for various real estate transactions and failed to do the work for which he was paid. The funds, which were given to him with the intent that they would be held in escrow for various real estate deals, were never returned to the victims.
Salami’s actions resulted in missed closing dates; nullified real estate transactions; and ultimately hardship to each victim. The investigation was conducted by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office with assistance from the Hazlet Township Police Department.
If convicted of misapplication of entrusted funds, second degree crimes, Salami faces a sentence of 5 to 10 years in a New Jersey state prison for each count. If convicted on the third degree crimes, Salami faces a sentence of 5 to 10 years in a New Jersey state prison for each count.
Police are interested in speaking to anyone else who has information or feels that they are a victim of a crime involving Steven H. Salami. The contact is Sgt. Kevin Mahoney of the Monmouth County Special Prosecutions Bureau at (732) 431-7160, extension 2945.
Anyone wishing to remain anonymous, but who has information about a crime can contact Monmouth County Crime Stoppers confidential telephone tip-line by calling 1-800-671-4400; can text “MONMOUTH” plus their tip to 274637; or, they can email a tip via the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com. Monmouth County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of criminals and fugitives.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and state law.
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor, Barbara Suppa, Director of the Office’s Special Prosecutions Bureau.