BY JOEL GROSSBARTH
After months of adamantly professing his innocence in connection with allegations of a conspiracy in connection to kill his wife, local podiatrist Ira Bernstein admitted that he was guilty of the charges against him.
Bernstein admitted to Rockland County Court Judge David Zuckerman that he and his girlfriend Kelly Gribeluk conspired to hire a hit man to have his wife killed in a staged automobile accident. Bernstein also pled guilty in connection with a separate plot to have two insurance investigators investigating his podiatry practice’s billing policies beaten up.
Bernstein ultimately pled guilty to the top charge in the indictment which is a B Felony in New York, along with two misdemeanor counts. Additionally, Bernstein pled guilty to grand larceny in connection with theft from his practice.
This grand larceny plea was not part of the original indictment, but was being investigated by the District Attorney’s Office. Bernstein will likely be sentenced on May 16, 2017 to a term of 5 to 15 years in state prison in connection with his crimes. Gribeluk faces sentencing later this month and is likely to receive 4 to 12 years in prison for her roles in the plots.
While Bernstein’s future includes state prison, he also finds himself defending claims resulting from his podiatry practice. According to Court records, Bernstein is currently defending against claims of podiatric malpractice from improper structuring of a patient’s bones in her left foot during a surgical procedure.
Bernstein has paid out millions of dollars in settlements and jury verdicts over the past several years. However, the most damning judgment Bernstein potentially faces is from his family. It is likely Bernstein’s estranged wife will sue for intentional infliction of emotional distress and also that his children may bring civil claims. Bernstein has assets worth millions of dollars.
Furthermore, it is likely the New York State Department of Education may suspend or revoke Bernstein’s license as a podiatrist. Under New York law, the New York State Board for Professional Medical Conduct will certainly investigate Bernstein’s conviction and take action against his license.