A Louisiana woman who falsely posed as a lawyer to swindle a $2 million trust fund from an autistic man will spend two decades behind bars.
Kristina Galjour was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Monday for draining the trust fund of a special needs man in Jefferson Parish.
The 45-year-old paralegal, who falsely “purported to be an attorney,” spent the man’s inheritance on travel, clothes, and a luxury sports car, after misleading him into signing over power of attorney to her, according to a police report obtained by Archiweekend.com.
She pleaded guilty to theft over $25,000 and practicing law without a license on Nov. 15, additional court documents show.
In 2015, the victim inherited the trust and two properties when his parents passed away, according to a police report obtained by Archiweekend.com. Real estate planning firm Legacy Law Center, where Galjour worked, had been appointed to oversee the trust. Galjour, who isn’t licensed to practice law, prosecutors said, later falsely presented herself as a real estate lawyer to the unsuspecting man.
“Galjour inserted herself into [victim’s] trust and informed him, she was his attorney and that he needed to sign documents giving her full authority to oversee the trust in his best interests,” the police report stated. “Galjour was in fact misleading [victim] to steal his $2,000,000 trust.”
Galjour ultimately convinced the man to sign over his New Orleans home to her. According to the Times-Picayune, Galjour invented a story about a fictitious group of malevolent neighbors, who were plotting to have the victim committed to a mental institution. The paralegal led the man to believe the only way to salvage his property was to put the property in her name.
As a result, one of the victim’s homes went into foreclosure due to a “delinquent second mortgage she opened illegally,” detectives wrote in charging documents.
Prosecutors say Galjour spent the man’s money on lavish parties, clothing, and even purchased a Jaguar in the man’s name.
A warrant was first issued for Galjour in March 2020. On Monday, Galjour was ordered by a district judge presiding over the case to pay $1.3 in restitution to her victim, sentencing documents show.
“He’s a little bit in shock,” Erica Dudas, a neighbor and advocate for the man, told the Times-Picayune. “I’m glad it’s over, and he finally understands that people believe him over her.”
Dudas said there is also litigation in the works to retrieve his parents’ home.
“I’m confident that [his] life will get better, and we can open a new chapter,” she told the newspaper.
Galjour is also required to pay $14,500 in restitution to five other victims in the case. Eight other charges, ranging from bank fraud, money laundering, and exploitation of the infirmed, were dismissed in exchange for her guilty plea.
“With the criminal case against our former paralegal Kristina Galjour now over, I am thankful that some level of justice has been served in this case as my practice is also a victim of Ms. Galjour’s crimes,” Chris Kane, who founded Legacy Law Center since 2016, said in a statement sent to Archiweekend.com.
Kane said Galjour was “immediately terminated” in 2018 after his firm learned of the fraud. The estate planning attorney later notified the victim, he said, who then ended his relationship with the real estate firm.
“Ms. Gajour was skilled at covering her tracks and she actively concealed her relationship and communications with the victim in this case,” Kane added. “We are glad the victim finally saw his relationship with Ms. Galjour for what it was when he decided to come forward in late 2019 and we are glad that Ms. Galjour is suffering the consequences of her actions.”
The Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office declined to comment further on the case following Galjour’s sentencing this week.
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