Archive for the ‘Attorney sentenced’ Category

Inheritance guardian sentenced for embezzlement

September 7, 2013

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A lawyer appointed to oversee the inheritance of a civil rights leader’s grandson has been sentenced in Mississippi to serve 30 years in prison for using hundreds of thousands of dollars for himself.

Attorney Michael Brown was sentenced Aug. 29 in Rankin County to 40 years, with 10 suspended, on two counts of embezzlement related to the estate left to the grandson of late civil rights leader Aaron Henry.

Brown, 56, of Rankin County, represented himself during the four-day trial. He remains incarcerated and was not available for comment Thursday. A telephone call to the sheriff’s office was not immediately returned.

Henry, a former state legislator who led the state NAACP for more than 30 years, died in 1997 at the age of 74, leaving his estate to his only daughter, Rebecca. She died in 2000, with her estate going to her two sons, Rankin County District Attorney Michael Guest said in a telephone interview Thursday.

Guest said a guardianship was set up in Hinds County in 2000 for Henry’s grandson, Demon McClinton, who was a minor at the time.

Brown was under court order to use the funds strictly for the benefit of the child, but he put the money in his personal escrow account, spending some of it on five cars over a period of several weeks in 2001 and investing $550,000 in a cemetery, Guest said.

Rankin County brought criminal charges because the checks for the Lakeland Place Garden Cemetery investment were written in the county, Guest said. Brown faces additional charges in Hinds County, where Guest said other fraudulent transactions occurred.

Brown closed the guardianship in 2006 after spending $1.2 million and then filed fraudulent paperwork with the Hinds County Chancery court to make it appear the money was properly spent for the benefit of McClinton, Guest said.

The estate was reopened in 2011 when Hinds County Chancellor Dewayne Thomas held a series of hearings that uncovered the fraud, Guest said.

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Inheritance guardian sentenced for embezzlement

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Terry Nolan, prominent Muskegon attorney, sentenced for cocaine use

July 29, 2013

MUSKEGON, MI – Terry Joel Nolan, one of Muskegon’s highest-profile attorneys, pleaded guilty as charged Tuesday to using cocaine.

There was no plea or sentencing agreement with the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office, and no sentence-cap commitment from the judge. Sentencing by Muskegon County Circuit Judge Annette R. Smedley was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. July 24.

Nolan, 55, of Norton Shores pleaded guilty Tuesday morning, June 18, to cocaine use with a double penalty as a second or subsequent offense. That’s a high-court misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in prison.

Because it’s not a felony, there are no state sentencing guidelines. That will leave the sentencing decision completely up to Smedley.

At some point after sentencing, the State Bar of Michigan will decide on suspending Nolan’s license to practice law. Some suspension is expected, with the length of time being up to the bar’s Attorney Discipline Board.

The Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office is legally required to notify the State Bar about Nolan’s conviction now that he has pleaded guilty. Nolan’s attorney, Edward G. Anderson, said he also has notified the bar about the plea.

Nolan is already prohibited from practicing law on an interim basis. The Michigan Attorney Discipline Board on May 6 temporarily placed Nolan’s law license on “inactive status” with the sole exception of the Maurice Darnell Clemons murder case, which concluded with Clemons’ sentencing Monday, June 17.

“I’ve been in recovery for a long time. I had a very brief relapse,” Nolan said after his plea. “I got right back in the (recovery) program, and I’m going to do the best I can to help anybody else with this kind of a problem. That’s my goal, to use my experience and the platform to try to help other people if I can.”

Legally speaking, “whatever the consequences are, I’m just going to accept,” Nolan said. “I’m doing what I have to do to take care of myself, and doing the best I can to help out my two former associates.” Attorneys Matthew Kacel and Kevin Wistrom, Nolan’s former associates, have been taking many of the cases Nolan formerly handled.

Nolan previously lost his law license for seven years over earlier convictions, regaining it only in late 2009. Since that time, until his arrest this year, he was active as a criminal-defense attorney.

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Terry Nolan, prominent Muskegon attorney, sentenced for cocaine use

Ky attorney disbarred over criminal conviction

June 22, 2013

A Lexington attorney has been permanently disbarred after admitting to taking $631,000 from a client over a 20-year period and another $46,000 in a separate case.

The Kentucky Supreme Court concluded Thursday that 65-year-old Brian P. Gilfedder’s conduct warranted a permanent ban on practicing law. Gilfedder agreed to the disbarment as part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in April that resulted in a 41-month prison sentence.  

Gilfedder admitted to taking $631,000 from a disabled veteran for whom he was appointed conservator in 1990. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to stealing the benefits and using them for himself from 1991 and 2011.

In the other case, Gilfedder acknowledged keeping $46,000 paid by an insurance company to four clients after an auto accident.

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Ky attorney disbarred over criminal conviction

Couple who scammed veterans are headed to prison

January 25, 2013

The elderly Houston couple responsible for the largest scam ever uncovered in a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ program meant to protect vulnerable veterans will be going to federal prison for 46 months after conspiring to carry out a $2.3 million ripoff of 49 disabled military men.

Houston lawyer Joe B. Phillips, 73, stood in federal court Wednesday to receive an identical punishment to that of his legal assistant and wife of four decades, Dorothy, who has claimed a casino gambling addiction first compelled her to siphon funds from veterans’ bank accounts years before a VA audit finally detected the losses.

“I did not personally do it myself, but I accept responsibility because it happened in my office. It happened on my watch,” Phillips told the court.

He asked to serve out his sentence in a cell near his 72-year-old spouse.

Government prosecutors unsuccessfully urged U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal to give a longer sentence to Joe Phillips, who was legally responsible for safeguarding disabled veterans’ funds as a VA-approved fiduciary and as a guardian appointed by Texas probate judges. They pointed out that on Phillips’ watch, 46 different fraudulent bank accounts were concocted to conceal long-term and ongoing thefts from veterans’ accounts.

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Couple who scammed veterans are headed to prison