The investigation has just marked a big boost this Monday, October 11 since Pierre Sarfaty, 65, and Romain Nicolli, a 32-year-old lawyer, “handyman”, “courier” or “driver” of Pierre Sarfaty, according to testimonies collected in recent weeks, have been…
The investigation has just marked a big boost this Monday, October 11 since Pierre Sarfaty, 65, and Romain Nicolli, a 32-year-old lawyer, “handyman”, “courier” or “driver” of Pierre Sarfaty, according to testimonies collected in recent weeks, were placed in police custody to be heard simultaneously by the financial brigade in Poitiers (Vienne). The home of Romain Nicolli, in Saint-Sauvant, between Saintes and Cognac, was searched in the morning.
Searches at the end of April
No surprise for the two men who knew that an investigation had been aimed at suspicious movements for more than a year. The firm, located close to the Saintes courthouse, was searched at the end of April. Pierre Sarfaty even opened up directly about his setbacks during a recent meeting about a file he was defending, in this case, ironically, a client nicknamed “the Madoff of Saint- Jean-d’Angely.
So what’s going on? Since 1985, lawyers must channel all sums resulting from a judgment, a transaction with insurance, etc. on the account of the Carpa (Case for pecuniary settlements for lawyers). However, the money of some of the customers would have made a direct trip to the professional accounts of Me Sarfaty.
Preparing for the counter-offensive and relying on an internal audit launched in July 2021, the lawyer recognized between 300,000 euros and 400,000 euros of stolen money and said he was doing everything possible to pay their due to injured clients. All this through IOUs but also through the expected sale of assets of the law firm that are the buildings in Saintes (624,000 euros according to the announcement of a real estate agency), Jonzac and Saint-Jean- d’Angely. The lawyer said he was also struggling to follow up with customers to collect, according to him, around 150,000 euros in unpaid invoices.
In essence, the lawyer would assume a responsibility but not a culpability, according to the formula now consecrated. Me Sarfaty blaming his former young collaborator, whom he considered “like a son” and who according to him would have diverted all or part of the money for his own benefit. He filed a complaint against Romain Nicolli at the Saintes police station in July. In addition, a labor court procedure opposes the lawyer and the lawyer, who has not set foot in the firm since February.
Allergic to accounting, Me Could Sarfaty ignore the complaints of his customers who were waiting for their money? Sometimes for more than two years, as an alleged victim told us, weary and exhausted of Mr.e Sarfaty. This is the money from the sale of a family house near Royan. Or 205,000 euros before fees and miscellaneous costs.
In another case, the money for a very long divorce procedure has been collected but the 135,000 euros have not reached the accounts of the ex-wife defended by Me Sarfaty. The two former spouses were heard by the financial brigade, at the same time. In another register, another client, very affected or even scared, claims to have handed over 10,500 euros in cash, in particular “by slipping an envelope under the door of the Jonzac cabinet”, in order to pay Me Sarfaty. And this, after paying two checks for 3,000 euros. He too was auditioned.
Accounting, the accounting firm, the banks, the associated lawyers have they seen nothing? What was the real role of Romain Nicolli? Partner in crime ? Ideal culprit? According to our information, the latter deposited the checks at the bank and made purchases, certainly on his own behalf but also for Mrs.e Sarfaty and relatives. “We don’t say no to Mr. Sarfaty”, comments laconicly a witness who, more sharply, considers that many have benefited “for a long time” from the largesse of the lawyer. An oh so “dividing” character as M calls himselfe Sarfaty.