Archive for the ‘Lawyer’ Category

TN Attorney John E. Clemmons Takes Plea, Gets 18 Years in $1.3 Mil Theft Case as Investigation Continues

November 15, 2013

A suspended Tennessee probate lawyer has been sentenced to 18 years in prison after admitting that he stole $1.3 million from three conservatorship clients.

John E. Clemmons, 66, pleaded guilty to perjury, theft and defrauding the state’s Medicare managed-care program, known as TennCare, according to the Tennessean.

Meanwhile, an investigation continues concerning claims by other former clients that they, too, may have been victimized by Clemmons. He is reportedly cooperating with the probe.

Source:
Probate Attorney Takes Plea, Gets 18 Years in $1.3 mil Theft Case as Investigation Continues

TBI Case Against Franklin Co. Attorney, Joseph Bean Jr., Appointed to Conservatorship Results in Theft Indictment

November 15, 2013

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s case into a Franklin County attorney assigned by a court to be a conservator over the estate of a woman in failing health resulted in an indictment by the Franklin County grand jury. He surrendered to authorities .

Joseph Bean Jr., 41, of Winchester, was indicted on one count of theft or property over $10,000. Between October of 2009 and March of 2012, Bean, who was the court appointed conservator over the estate of the victim, stole more than $42,000 from her conservatorship account. Bean made payments from the victim’s conservatorship account to his American Express account, Bank of America mortgage account, a Community Bank loan account and his Toyota Motors account. Bean was appointed the conservatorship of the victim’s estate due to her failing health. He was the sole party with authorized access to her account to pay her bills and other financial obligations. The victim of the theft is now deceased.

In May of 2013, the 12th Judicial District Attorney General’s office requested TBI to investigate the theft after the attorney over the victim’s estate reported it to him. Bean was booked today into the Franklin County Jail on $7,500 bond.

Source:
TBI Case Against Franklin County Attorney Appointed to Conservatorship Results in Theft Indictment

A Word About Attorney Ken Ditkowsky

October 10, 2013

Friday, October 11th at 11:00 a.m., Illinois Attorney Ken Ditkowsky will stand in front of the ARDC Review Board* in oral argument, defending himself against a four-year suspension of his law license for his involvement in the Mary G. Sykes unlawful guardianship case.

NASGA stands firmly with Attorney Ditkowsky, as we have all along. Attorney Ditkowsky is one of a dying breed of attorneys – those who chose and went in to the legal profession to help people in need instead of just to make a lot of money; a man who is outraged by injustice; and a champion and voice for the vulnerable.

We pray for justice at this hearing.

The world can’t stand to lose an attorney like Ditkowsky; in fact, we need more like him!

*One Prudential Plaza
15th Floor
Chicago, IL
11:00 a.m. 

Criminal probe requested in conservatorship case

July 30, 2013

John E. Clemmons

Citing “incomplete accountings and other misrepresentations,” a court-appointed conservator is recommending that the district attorney general and the TBI open criminal investigations into a Nashville attorney’s handling of a conservatorship.

In a 26-page report filed Thursday in Davidson County Probate Court, Paul Gontarek found that attorney John E. Clemmons paid himself over $370,000 while acting as the conservator of Nannie P. Malone. Court records show that most of those payments were made without court approval.

Malone passed away last year at the age of 81, but her family has filed a civil suit against Clemmons, who is facing criminal charges in a separate case in Rutherford County.

Gontarek was named to replace Clemmons in the Malone case on April 10 after the Tennessee Supreme Court suspended Clemmon’s license to practice law. Probate Judge David “Randy” Kennedy also named Gontarek to take over three other of Clemmons’ cases.

Gontarek said that his review of the four cases showed Clemmons routinely submitted accounting reports that omitted the payments he made to himself. He said some of those reports were “totally fraudulent.”

Full Article and Source:
Criminal probe requested in conservatorship case

See Also:
Nashville Attorney John E. Clemmons Charged With Theft in Conservatorship Case

Tennessee Attorney John E. Clemmons, Court Appointed as Conservator, Sued for Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Conversion, and More

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.

Full Article and Source:
Family:  Lawyer Stole Money Left by Dying Father for Kids

Probate Sharks: Synopsis of Hearing Board Report and Recommendation: Illinois Attorney Ken Ditkowsky

June 4, 2013


 Professor Tarkington from Ind. School of Law got it right when she said the Bar Association’s frequently use the standard propounded in New York Times v. Sullivan as a dark aberration of what it is intended to be and that results in decisions very far afield of what New York Times meant the first amendment to be, rendering all or most of the decisions invalid because they infringe too greatly upon the constitutional rights of lawyers.

Source:
Probate Sharks:  Ken’s Decision – With Comments

Read: Decision from Discipline Reports and Decision Research; Filed May 3, 2013; In re: Kenneth Karl Ditkowsky, Attorney Respondent

See Also:
Probate Sharks:  Some Thoughts on Attorney Ken Ditkowsky

Note:   For those new readers to our Blog who may not be familiar with Illinois Attorney Ken Ditkowsky, please be advised NASGA fully supports Attorney Ditkowsky; we appreciate his efforts  calling for a complete and honest investigation of guardianship cases, and we stand beside him.

Federal Judge Jails Estate Lawyer Joseph Caramadre as Flight Risk

June 1, 2013

A Rhode Island estate planning lawyer’s effort to revoke his guilty plea in a controversial $30 million elder insurance fraud case was a “bizarre” and unjustified “hatchet job” on Joseph Caramadre’s former counsel, a federal judge said.

U.S. District Judge William Smith not only nixed Caramadre’s bid for a new trial but agreed with prosecutors in the Providence case that he should immediately be jailed as a flight risk, pending his sentencing in July, report the Associated Press and the Providence Journal.

“It was amazing to watch a defendant perjure himself saying he perjured himself the first time,” the judge said.

Caramadre and an employee were charged with defrauding dying individuals into allowing insurance investments to be made in their names.

They pleaded guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy shortly after their trial began in November.

Source:
Federal Judge Jails Estate Lawyer as Flight Risk, Nixes ‘Bizzare’ Effort to Revoke Plea

See Also:
Death Takes a Policy:  How a Lawyer Exploited the Fine Print and Found Himself Facing Federal Charges

Former KY Attorney, Donald A. "Champ" Maze, Disbarred Over Vote Buying

May 31, 2013

A former county attorney from northeast Kentucky was disbarred Thursday for paying voters to cast ballots for him in a 2006 election and then lying about it to a grand jury.

 
The Kentucky Supreme Court found that one-time Bath County Attorney Donald A. “Champ” Maze’s conduct proved so egregious, he should be permanently banned from practicing law, even though he had no prior disciplinary record.
 
Chief Justice John D. Minton, writing for the court’s majority, said Maze abused a position of power and trust by using his office to corrupt both the voting process and the judicial system.
 
“Any layperson should know better, and so much more should a lawyer with over 20 years of experience, 12 of which included prosecuting criminals as the County Attorney,” Minton wrote.

Full Article and Story:
Former County Attorney Disbarred Over Vote Buying

Nashville Attorney John E. Clemmons Charged With Theft in Conservatorship Case

May 29, 2013

A Nashville attorney, whose license to practice law was recently suspended, has been charged with theft of more than $60,000 from a client.

John E. Clemmons, 65, was charged last week with theft from a retired teacher.

While serving as the conservator of the Rutherford County resident, Clemmons paid himself more than $50,000 in fees without court approval.

Paul Housch, Clemmons’ attorney, said his client already had entered a not guilty plea to the criminal charge. He declined to respond to the charge, stating that it would be addressed in court. An initial hearing is scheduled for June 7.

The charges were initially spelled out in an April order from the state Supreme Court which indefinitely suspended Clemmons’ license to practice law, concluding that allowing him to continue posed “a threat of substantial harm to the public.”

Chancellor Robert E. Corlew III on March 5 removed Clemmons as Russell Church’s conservator. Rutherford County Clerk and Master John A.W. Bratcher then referred the matter to District Attorney General Robert Whitesell, whose office brought the charges to a grand jury.

The indictment was unsealed last week.

Clemmons also is facing charges in a civil case brought by the daughter of a woman for whom Clemmons served as a conservator for more than four years. The suit charges that Clemmons misappropriated about $450,000 from the estate of Nannie P. Malone, who died last year.

The suit on behalf of Malone’s daughter, Teresa A. Lyle, charges that Clemmons breached his fiduciary duty and failed to properly account for thousands of dollars in proceeds when Malone’s property was auctioned. The insurance company that provided a bond for Clemmons under his services in the conservatorship has filed a cross claim against Clemmons for the value of the $300,000 bond.

Full Article and Source:
Nashville Attorney Faces Theft Charges in Conservatorship Case

See Also:
Tennessee Attorney John E. Clemmons, Court Appointed as Conservator, Sued for Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Conversion, and More

GA: Lawyer Discipline Cases Include Suspension, License Surrender

May 25, 2013

In the Supreme Court of Georgia
Decided: May 20, 2013S13Y0399.
IN THE MATTER OF DALE E. CALOMENI.
PER CURIAM.

This disciplinary matter is before the Court on the petition of Dale E. Calomeni (State Bar No. 105311) for voluntary discipline. In his petition, Calomeni admits violations of Rules 1.2, 1.15 (I), and 5.3 (d) of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct, see Bar Rule 4-102 (d), and for these violations, he agrees to accept a Review Panel reprimand.1 The State Bar has no objection to the petition, but for the reasons that follow, we reject it. According to the petition, Calomeni was retained to represent a client in the enforcement of a divorce decree. Calomeni successfully pursued garnishment as a remedy for his client, and he collected $17,510.28 for his client through the garnishment process. Calomeni, however, failed to notify his client that he had collected and received these funds, and he failed to put the funds into his trust account, apparently because he believed that the client owed him at least as much in fees. The client later asked Calomeni for a meeting to discuss her bill, but Calomeni declined to meet with her. Eventually, the client filed a petition for arbitration with the State Bar Fee Arbitration Program, and she was awarded a portion of the amount that Calomeni had retained as a fee, which Calomeni now has paid to her in full. Calomeni admits that this conduct amounts to a violation of Rule 1.15 (I).

The petition also shows that Calomeni employed a disbarred lawyer as a paralegal. Calomeni failed to take appropriate measures to prevent this disbarred lawyer from having direct contact and communications with his clients concerning legal matters, and Calomeni permitted the disbarred lawyer to have direct contact with more than one of his clients on numerous occasions. Calomeni admits that this conduct amounts to a violation of Rule 5.3 (d).

Full Article and Source:
Lawyer Discipline: Cases Include Suspension, License Surrender