HAZLET — A real estate attorney is accused of stealing $285,000 from his clients, causing missed closing dates and ruined deals.

Steven H. Salami, 44, a township resident, was arrested Friday afternoon and charged with five counts of misapplication of entrusted property, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Salami, a practicing attorney with a law office in Hazlet, stole the $285,000 from four victims between April and August, Gramiccioni said.

Instead of holding the money in escrow for various real estate deals, Salami never returned the funds to his victims, according to Gramiccioni.

Anyone with information or who feels that they are a victim of a crime involving Steven Salami, should contact Sergeant Kevin Mahoney of the Monmouth County Special Prosecutions Bureau at (732) 431-7160, extension 2945.

Salami is being held in the Monmouth County jail, pending a detention hearing.

Each count carries a potential sentence of five to ten years in state prison, if Salami is convicted.

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