Police are investigating a probate court-appointed lawyer who allegedly tried to cover up his improper handling of a disabled man’s finances by filing false accounting statements — as the man’s assets dwindled by tens of thousands of dollars over the years.
The Newington Police Department’s investigation of Michael Schless, a retired Newington attorney now living in Florida, began after the Aug. 4 publication of a Government Watch column about Schless’s longtime role as probate conservator for John Fritz, 64, of Wethersfield, who suffers from cerebral palsy.
Fritz once had assets worth more than $100,000, but now his money market and stock accounts have shrunk to about $20,000 — even though his family says they should have remained stable because his living expenses are covered by Social Security payments and part-time employment.
Newington Probate Judge Robert A. Randich also wrote in a ruling last spring that Schless attempted to “hide his transgressions by filing knowingly false accountings.”
Despite that ruling, however, Randich had declined to exercise his option to request a criminal probe, and Fritz’s family had been unable to persuade law enforcement authorities to investigate.
That soon changed.
Days after the column appeared, a Newington police detective was assigned to the case. A member of state’s attorney’s office in New Britain “took notice of [the] newspaper column … and independently requested that the matter be investigated,” according to an Aug. 8 letter to a state prosecutor from David A. Ruth of Bolton, a lawyer representing Fritz’s family.
A state prosecutor independently confirmed Ruth’s assertion that the police investigation is underway.
Full Article and Source:
Police Investigate Probate Lawyer Over Disabled Man’s Missing Funds
Deceit, Improprieties By Probate ‘Conservator’ Deprive Disabled Man Of Inheritance, Court Finds