Former Verona mayor Matthew Kirnan, a West Caldwell lawyer who bilked three clients of $750,000, was sentenced Monday by a Superior Court judge in Newark.
Officials at the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office said Judge Sherry Hutchins-Henderson handed down a seven-year prison sentence to the disbarred Ramsey resident.
The judge noted Kirnan had previously been arrested by the FBI for filing fraudulent IRS documents and was on one-year probation for practicing law under false impression in Bergen County.
Between 2009 and 2010, Kirnan took money belonging to two clients that was supposed to be used to pay their outstanding mortgages and another client that was to help pay inheritance taxes.
Instead of depositing the money in his attorney trust account and using it for the intended purpose, Kirnan stole the money, the prosecutor’s office said.
Kirnan had a law firm in West Caldwell and practiced real estate law.
“The law works no matter who you are,” said Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor Walter Dirkin, who handled the case. “Whether you’re someone who holds himself out as respectable in the community or whether you’re an average citizen, you can’t go from contrition to redemption without consequences. Every time Mr. Kirnan has been put in a position of trust, he abused it.”
Kirnan served as Verona mayor from 1997-1999.