Archive for the ‘misuse of funds’ Category

Prominent Milwaukee lawyer loses license for misuse of funds

December 21, 2012

After practicing law for more than a half century and being president of one Milwaukee’s better known law firms, Joseph W. Weigel will be leaving the profession next year as a disbarred lawyer.

The state Supreme Court Wednesday unanimously agreed to revoke Weigel’s law license for misusing client funds by using the money to pay vendors or other clients. Special prosecutor Paul Schwarzenbart has argued that Weigel ran the firm’s client trust account like a Ponzi scheme. That is, Weigel, 77, ran hundreds of millions of dollars through the fund and used money won in new cases to pay off clients in older cases. Others, such as consultants and experts who assisted in cases, went unpaid.

“A six or seven figure deficit in an account that holds client funds is an ethical failure of epic proportions,” the court said in its 37-page decision.

Schwarzenbart has handled the case since 2006 because Weigel’s son, William Weigel, is a top official at the court’s Office of Lawyer Regulation and he often is involved in prosecutions of lawyers who violate ethical rules. Schwarzenbart made all decisions in the Joseph Weigel case and did not consult William Weigel or other agency officials, said Keith Sellen, agency director.

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Prominent Milwaukee lawyer loses license for misuse of funds

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