Archive for the ‘Embezzlement’ Category

Embezzling client money leads to discipline for Tampa Bay lawyers

November 4, 2013

Misappropriating clients’ money has resulted in law license revocations for two area lawyers while four others were disciplined by the Florida Supreme Court for other misconduct.

The court granted Tampa lawyer David Anthony Fontes’ petition for disciplinary revocation of his license, which is tantamount to disbarment, according to a Florida Bar written statement. He may apply for readmission after five years.

Fontes was suspended last year and then arrested by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for grand theft. He was accused of misappropriating more than $138,000 entrusted to him to pay the debts of a client’s estate.

Fontes subsequently reimbursed the client’s money.

The court also granted Scott V. Boruta’s petition for disciplinary revocation of his license. The Palm Harbor lawyer had two pending complaints of embezzling client funds and criminal theft.

Hillsborough County deputies investigated Boruta last year and arrested him for grand theft, records show.

A conflict of interest led to a four-month suspension for Sarasota lawyer Kenneth D. Doerr. In an estate case, he represented two clients in a matter in which they had adverse interests and wishes. He displayed “a lack of diligence and candor” by not disclosing to each client that he represented the other, according to the Bar statement.

Land O’Lakes lawyer Henry T. Sorenson II was suspended for three years. He failed to properly represent clients who wanted a trial court’s ruling appealed and failed to file the appeal notice. He also fabricated an appellate court opinion indicating the clients won the appeal.

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Embezzling client money leads to discipline for Tampa Bay lawyers

Rossen Reports: Thieves target seniors at nursing homes

October 26, 2013
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Across the United States, nursing-home residents are having their money stolen by people they know: the homes’ bookkeepers and office managers who handle their trust funds and manage their expenses.

It’s a crime that’s been committed against thousands of nursing-home residents, including Leo Foster’s 89-year-old mother at the Vicksburg Convalescent Center in Vicksburg, Miss.

“It made me feel sick at my stomach,” Leo’s wife Phyllis Foster told TODAY’s National Investigative Correspondent Jeff Rossen. “It just didn’t dawn on me that someone would be so low as to steal from a vulnerable adult.”

Police learned that a woman named Lee Ray Martin, a business office coordinator at the Vicksburg Convalescent Center and Shady Lawn Health and Rehabilitation homes, had been raiding residents’ trust accounts.

“In (a) three-month period there were 12 or 15 cash withdrawals,” Phyllis Foster said of her mother-in-law’s account. “And we knew that there was something drastically wrong.”

In August, Martin pleaded guilty to 29 counts of exploitation of a vulnerable person and one count of conspiracy. She is accused of stealing more than $100,000 from 83 residents’ trust funds and going on shopping sprees at stores like J.C. Penney, Gap, Walmart and American Eagle. In one instance, Martin bought a pair of designer jeans and expensed them to an elderly resident with no legs.

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Rossen Reports: Thieves target seniors at nursing homes

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

Tonight on T.S. Radio: How Judges Help Attorneys Steal From the Elderly and Disabled

July 14, 2013

Join us this evening as Richard Kuse, Sassoon Sassoon, and Gary Wildman join the show to talk about the court run grand theft, embezzlement and estate theft, rackets operating in New York State.

Friends of judges, utilizing their courts, are cashing in on estates via the buddy system operating in New York Surrogate courts. As and example: In the case of Ted Ammon (deceased) $10 mil in court approved attorney fees! Estate theft, forged documents, murder and grand larceny. Learn the difference between an exemplified vs. certified court docket. Judges are not only condoning the theft from the clients, they are helping attorneys do it.

6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm EST

LISTEN LIVE or listen to the archive later

Family: Lawyer Stole Money Left by Dying Father for Kids

June 12, 2013

Derek Tate had expected money from a $500,000 life insurance policy would help with things like college and weddings for his children after he died of cancer in 2007.

Instead, much of the money was drained by a Macomb County attorney from the trust fund set up to financially help Tate’s sons, authorities said.

Buschmohle, 40, was charged in February, accused of writing checks to himself over a four-year period from the trust fund. The boys’ mother complained to the Attorney Grievance Commission, which contacted Warren police, after Buschmohle failed to return her calls as the boys reached the fund distribution age of 19, authorities have said.

Stephen Tate said he believes the money went to Buschmohle’s family and friends.

Buschmohle was expected to plead no contest [5/29/13] to embezzlement of $100,000 or more, a 20-year felony, in Macomb County Circuit Court, but the plea did not go off.

Assistant Prosecutor Sian Hengeveld said there was some misunderstanding with the terms and conditions of the sentence the judge was going to give. She said the sentencing agreement was for one year in the county jail and $315,000 in restitution, with 10% due at or before sentencing.

She said the prosecution and defense agreed on the $315,000 figure but there was a separate agreement between the judge and the defense on the jail time. Hengeveld said the Prosecutor’s Office is not offering anything, including a plea offer, and “we are not in agreement with the sentence.”

Buschmohle was disbarred effective May 22 and ordered to pay more than $462,000 in restitution, according to a notice Friday of disbarment and restitution posted on the state Attorney Discipline Board’s website. He had a notice of reprimand and restitution from the board in 2009.

The notices did not detail specifics of the complaints.

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Family:  Lawyer Stole Money Left by Dying Father for Kids

Indicted Former Judge Craig Steven Key Resigns From Law Pactice

May 26, 2013

A former Lincoln County district judge indicted on charges of cattle theft, forgery and embezzling money from a client has relinquished his law license. A multi-county grand jury in April indicted Craig Steven Key on three counts of delivering a forged instrument, two counts of embezzlement, conspiracy to commit larceny of domestic animals, and larceny of domestic animals.

According to an indictment, Key, 47, of Chandler, conspired with Joshua E. Anderson, 36, of Agra and Leslie Bottger, 47, of Agra to steal a livestock trailer and 13 head of cattle in September, 2012.

Key allegedly gave the Anderson $200 for expenses involved in stealing the cattle. The cattle were stored at Key’s Lilliebridge Farm, the document states. Key allegedly exchanged a text message with one of the men instructing him to store the stolen trailer at Key’s farm where, according to the document, one of the men started painting it in preparation for efforts to sell the stolen cattle.

The indictment says another man, Brandon R. Dawson, 42, also of Chandler then hauled the cattle to Waurika Livestock Commission Company in Jefferson County, where he failed to find a buyer.

When he was approached by enforcement officers from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, he is alleged to have used a cell phone to text Key.

“Cops Just Came In,” Dawson allegedly texted.

“Leave,” the former judge is reported to have replied.

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Former Judge Resigns Law Practice After Embezzlement, Cattle Theft Indictments

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Former Oklahoma Judge Craig S. Key Indicted

NY State Senator John Sampson Charged With Embezzlement

May 26, 2013

A prominent New York state senator pleaded not guilty on Monday to embezzlement and other charges alleging he brazenly tried to sabotage a federal fraud investigation of his law practice by seeking inside information from an employee of the Brooklyn U.S. attorney’s office.

Sen. John Sampson told the employee – who has since been fired – that he wanted to identify cooperators in his case so he could arrange to “take them out,” prosecutors said in announcing an indictment against the former Democratic leader in the Senate.

The indictment alleges that Sampson embezzled $440,000 from escrow accounts under his supervision as a court-appointed referee for foreclosures.

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John Sampson Arrested:  NY State Senator Charged With Embezzlement

Former Oklahoma Judge Craig S. Key Indicted

April 22, 2013

The former judge involved in the Kelsey-Smith Briggs case was accused Thursday in three state indictments of embezzling from clients and stealing cattle.
Craig S. Key was the former Lincoln County associate district judge who lost re-election in 2006 after he was widely criticized for his handling of the abused girl’s case.
Kelsey, 2, died on Oct. 11, 2005, at her Meeker home. She had suffered repeated injuries in the year before her death.
Key was criticized because he had returned Kelsey four months before her death to her mother even though the mother was suspected of abusing her.

Former Oklahoma Judge Indicted

Former Probate Clerk Found Guilty of Embezzlement

April 13, 2013

A former probate clerk in Chesapeake Circuit Court was sentenced last week to serve one year in prison for embezzling from his office.

Maurio B. Anderson, 32, of Norfolk pleaded guilty in December to two counts of felony embezzlement.

According to court documents, Anderson handled probate matters between June 1, 2009, and May 16, 2011, for the Chesapeake Circuit Court clerk’s office. It was his job to collect fees and taxes from people interested in opening estates and recording wills.

In May 2011, a state audit discovered 397 probate files that were missing cash receipts. The receipts would have totaled $24,166, documents said.

Circuit Judge Randall D. Smith sentenced Anderson to 10 years in prison with all but one suspended. He ordered him to pay $24,500 in restitution.

“Mr. Anderson has demonstrated total contempt for the policies, procedures and protocol of this office,” Clerk of the Circuit Court Faye W. Mitchell wrote in a letter to the judge.

Former Chesapeake Clerk Guilty of Embezzlement

AL: Probate Employee Charged With Stealing Tens of Thousands of Dollars

April 9, 2013

The Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office charged a county employee with stealing tens of thousands of dollars worth of attorney fees from a public office.

Sherre Johnson Wells, 51, of Pleasant Valley, was charged with theft of property after allegedly stealing between $10,000 and $50,000 from the Calhoun County Probate Office, said Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Matthew Wade.

Wade said Wells, an assistant at the Probate Office, had “developed a scheme” in which she redirected into her personal account state funds meant to cover attorney fees for the probate office.

“This isn’t like reaching into somebody’s pocket and taking their wallet,” Wade said. “This is thousands of dollars she stole over time from various accounts.”

Wade said Probate Judge Alice Martin called the Sheriff’s Office on March 6 to report money had been stolen after she requested an audit for missing funds from the state examiner’s office.

The Sheriff’s Office issued warrants for Wells’ arrest and she turned herself in late Tuesday, Wade said. She was released after posting a $30,000 bond. She is scheduled to appear in court on May 2.

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Probate Employee Charged With Stealing Tens of Thousands of Dollars