A state appellate court has disbarred Bedford attorney Robert C. Schuster for killing a man in a car crash.
The action was a formality because, as the Second Appellate Division noted in its March 16 order, Schuster was automatically disbarred and ceased to be an attorney last year when he was convicted of a felony.
It was his second disbarment for a crime in 21 years.
Schuster, 53, was licensed in 1995 and worked briefly as a prosecutor in Cayuga County, worked for a White Plains firm for several years, and opened his own practice in 1998. He practiced criminal defense law, including white collar crime and drunk driving cases, according to his LinkedIn profile.
In 2001, he pleaded guilty to federal securities fraud and bribery for offering to pay a paralegal as much as $15,000 for tips about pending merger and acquisition deals.
The firm tipped off the government, according to a New York Times account of the case. The FBI secretly taped his conversations with the paralegal, and a fictitious deal was set up to catch him buying shares of a company based on purported insider information.
He was sentenced to six months of home confinement and three years probation.
He also paid a $50,000 fine in a civil case brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Second Appellate Division disbarred him in 2001 and reinstated him in 2009.
In the current case, Schuster pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide.
After attending a party on Dec. 16, 2019, he drove away drunk, according to court records, crossed into an oncoming lane on Route 172 / South Bedford Road, and at 94 miles an hour crashed into a car driven by Diego Trejo, 22, of Mount Kisco. His blood alcohol level was 0.18, more than twice the legal limit, by one account, or 0.12, or 50% over the limit, by another account.
Trejo and his dog, Lily, died at the scene.
Schuster had a prior conviction for driving while intoxicated.
This past Dec. 15, Westchester Supreme Court Justice Barry Warhit sentenced Schuster to prison for two to six years.
Warhit, CBS New York reported, called Schuster a “disgrace to the legal profession.”
Schuster is imprisoned at Wende Correctional Facility, a maximum security penitentiary near Buffalo.