Belfast attorney removed from having financial control over two elderly clients

BELFAST, Maine — The Waldo County Probate Court last week acted to remove two elderly women from the control of a Belfast lawyer accused of financially exploiting them in recent years.

William Dawson had been granted power of attorney by both women. According to court documents, in one year he paid himself $149,275 from the bank accounts of one 86-year-old woman, who suffers from medical conditions including memory loss and depression. In just nine months, he paid himself $178,500 from the accounts of a 98-year-old woman, who suffers from some dementia. Both women are widows with no children and few family members living nearby.

The alleged financial exploitation apparently was brought to light first by concerned bankers, who contacted the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to say that they suspected something troubling was happening, according to the 98-year-old woman’s newly appointed guardian.

Jacquelyn Parisi of Machias, whose mother had been friends from childhood with the 98-year-old, said that she was shocked to learn of the alleged financial malfeasance.

“She is the sweetest person and very trusting,” Parisi said of the woman, whom she refers to as an aunt.

Maine Department of Health and Human Services Caseworker Joanne Cookson twice last spring interviewed the two women at the Harbor Hill assisted care facility in Belfast, where they reside. In court documents filed on May 7 to request temporary guardianship appointments for the women, Cookson wrote that both were “at risk of further possible financial exploitation and [are] in need of immediate intervention in order to have all of [their] finances preserved for [their] care.”

Multiple efforts Wednesday to contact Dawson, who is still an active, registered attorney according to the Maine Board of Bar Overseers, were unsuccessful.

Eric Walker, Waldo County Deputy District Attorney, said that the matter has been referred to his department for criminal investigation and that he would not comment further at this point.

Dawson did receive a reprimand from the bar overseers in 2011, when three separate clients filed complaints alleging that he had not done his work in a timely or competent fashion.

Full Article and Source:
Belfast attorney removed from having financial control over two elderly clients


3 Responses to “Belfast attorney removed from having financial control over two elderly clients”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Is this a joke!!! We now have more bilkers! Now they will have to pay more attorney's, more guardians!!! When does the financial abuse end!!!!

  2. Kenny Says:

    Look at the profit…..amazing!

  3. StandUp Says:

    With all the articles about bad attorneys one would wonder if it's time for courts to reevaluate attorneys as "officers of the court" by virtue of their job.

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