Prosecutors said Talafous used a power of attorney to make unauthorized withdrawals of thousands of dollars from the investment account of an elderly client who lived in Jersey City, and from the client’s estate after the client died in 2010.

Talafous was also convicted of stealing approximately $461,000 from a trust set up for the benefit of a young boy in 2005 with funds from a wrongful death suit stemming from the death of his father. The father died in 2001 in a workplace accident when the child, a West New York resident, was still an infant.

He was also convicted of stealing approximately $300,000 from the estate of an elderly Jersey City woman who died in 2009 without any immediate family. She had hired him to prepare her will and had named him executor of her estate.

And he was convicted of stealing approximately $400,000 from the estate of a Jersey City man who died in 2012 and whose family hired Talafous as attorney for the estate, which included several life insurance policies worth a total of more than $870,000.

Finally, from 2012 to 2015, Talafous stole $330,000 that was entrusted to him as counsel for the estate of a Jersey City woman who owned property in New York, the jury found.

The case was referred to the Division of Criminal Justice by the New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics. The Supreme Court of New Jersey revoked Talafous’ license to practice law by consent in August 2015.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal issued a statement after the sentencing. “This prison sentence sends a strong message of deterrence that lawyers like Talafous who violate their duty and steal from their clients will be aggressively prosecuted,” he said.

Miller previously told the Law Journal, after the conviction, that Talafous maintains that he did not take any funds he was not entitled to. Miller, at the time, promised an appeal of the conviction.

If the conviction and sentence are appealed, it would not be the case’s first trip up the appellate ladder. Talafous’ charges originally included money laundering in the first degree, but that charge was dismissed by the Appellate Division in June 2017. The court said evidence that Talafous used his trust and business accounts to facilitate the alleged thefts by itself didn’t support the charge of money laundering, the only first-degree offense among the 19 counts with which he was originally charged. The appeals court said the money laundering statute is intended to be construed broadly to serve its purposes, but it requires proof of something more than an underlying crime.

“The State presented no evidence that the theft was concealed (as opposed to committed) through placement of the money in defendant’s accounts,” the Appellate Division said in that decision.