Archive for the ‘theft’ Category

Nashville lawyer admits to stealing $1.3 million, gets 18 years in prison

November 16, 2013

A well-known Nashville probate attorney was sentenced Friday to 18 years in prison after admitting to stealing $1.3 million from three clients, including the late father of a severely disabled woman.

Dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, John E. Clemmons, 66, entered his guilty plea to three counts of theft, perjury and TennCare fraud in a barely audible voice. Under the plea agreement he could be eligible for parole after serving about five years and four months. Absent the plea deal, Clemmons could have faced jail terms of up to 30 years on the theft counts alone.

Clemmons, who already had pleaded guilty to stealing more than $60,000 from a fourth ward in Rutherford County, could face more charges as an investigation into dozens of other cases continues. His license to practice law was suspended indefinitely last spring when details of the Rutherford case began to emerge.

In all four cases, Clemmons had been appointed as a conservator of wards whom the courts had concluded were unable to look after their own affairs.

Assistant District Attorney General James W. Milam told Judge Steve Dozier that Clemmons has agreed to cooperate and “is cooperating” in that ongoing probe. Milam declined to discuss the details of the investigation

Under the agreement the victims, whose losses range from $172,506 to $771,009, will first collect restitution from bonds posted by Clemmons in the three cases and then from a state fund established to reimburse victims of attorney misconduct. The amount due after that, Milam said, will be Clemmons responsibility.

Milam said Clemmons filed false reports with the Davidson Probate Court and instead of the expenses he reported spending, wrote checks to himself. He also filed a false application for TennCare coverage for one of his clients.

Flanked by his attorneys, Paul Housch and Bob Lynch, Clemmons told Dozier the plea deal had been explained to him and that he had agreed to it.

Clemmons had turned himself in last week in anticipation of the plea deal. He will remain in custody and be turned over to the Tennessee Department of Corrections.

Action on the case came as some of the victims registered last minute pleas to Dozier urging him to reject the plea deal and order the Clemmons to make full restitution.

Ronnie Dismang, whose severely disabled cousin was one of the victims, wrote that she has been trying for months to learn how Clemmons was able to steal so much without detection by the courts or attorneys involved in the case.

Dismang wrote that whenever she asked how Clemmons could have gotten away with the thefts “I would get legal runaround.”

“John E. Clemmons does not deserve a plea deal for committing fraud against his conservator victims,” she wrote. “He should be required and ordered by the court to make full restitution to the victims’ families.”

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Nashville lawyer admits to stealing $1.3 million, gets 18 years in prison

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.

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

Lawyer charged with theft, fraud in conservatorship cases

November 13, 2013

A longtime Nashville attorney has been jailed on charges of aggravated perjury, theft and TennCare fraud stemming from his care of three people, two of them elderly and one severely disabled, that the state said couldn’t care for themselves.

John E. Clemmons, 66, turned himself in on the charges Friday. Bail was set at $500,000, and a hearing on the charges, along with an anticipated plea deal, is expected as early as next week.

Using a cane and accompanied by one of his attorneys, Clemmons, who had been entrusted by the courts to manage the three conservatorships, walked slowly through the metal detector in the night court building a little after 1 p.m.and was taken into custody.

According to court filings Clemmons was charged with three counts theft of more than $60,000, one count of aggravated perjury and Tenncare fraud.

Court records and interviews show that more than $1 million in assets from the three wards is unaccounted for and much of it has been tracked back to Clemmons himself. In one case, a civil suit already has been filed seeking restitution of $450,000.

In that case, records show, Clemmons submitted periodic reports to the court on the handling of the ward’s estate that contradicted the actual bank and checking account records. Checks he reported making out to health care workers and other service providers, for example, ended up in his own bank account.

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Lawyer charged with theft, fraud in conservatorship cases

Couple Arrested for Exploitation of the Elderly

October 7, 2013

A husband and wife were arrested Thursday for stealing from a disabled World War II Veteran who allowed them to live in his home, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.

The 87-year-old victim contacted deputies in September when he discovered a few pieces of his jewelry were missing, according to a report. He later realized a large amount of jewelry that belonged to his late wife worth an estimated $50,000 was also stolen, the report states.

Kevin Babbidge and his wife, Christina Babbidge, have known the victim for 10 years and moved in with him in late August to help care for him, the report said.

Detectives learned that within days, Kevin pawned several pieces of jewelry, but also found records showing he pawned items believed to have belonged to the victim in 2012, when he was paying Kevin $200 a week to clean his home, a report stated.

Detectives have recovered about $7,600 worth of jewelry taken from the man’s home. Both suspects pleaded with the victim to allow them to make restitution and not press charges, a report said.

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Couple Arrested for Exploitation of the Elderly

Former Upper Arlington Attorney Charged For Allegedly Forging Guardianship Documents, Stealing From Retirement Fund

August 28, 2013

A former attorney is charged with theft, forgery, tampering with records and money laundering.

According to the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office, Lindsey T. Burt, 33, was indicted Tuesday in connection with stealing from the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System.

The prosecutor’s office said that Burt was supposed to file paperwork for a client which would make the client the guardian of his son after the mother passed away.

Burt allegedly altered documents, making it that she was the guardian, and then she allegedly sent paperwork to OPERS to collect death benefits intended for the child.

The alleged theft from OPERS was during a five-year period and totaled $67,183.03.

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Former Upper Arlington Attorney Charged For Allegedly Forging Guardianship Documents, Stealing From Retirement Fund

Attorney who admitted theft still has law license

August 27, 2013

Since November, attorney Randy Wynn has been telling pretty much everybody he was a thief.

He has fessed up to the Milwaukee County district attorney’s office, the state Office of Lawyer Regulation, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge and the Journal Sentinel, which in January reported that Wynn acknowledged pocketing client funds. In an interview last week, the 60-year-old lawyer said the amount he took in the past few years is “estimated to be under $1 million, over $500,000 but spread over hundreds of clients.”

“I’m expecting to be charged, and I’ll probably be in prison,” Wynn testified last month in a bankruptcy hearing for one of his former clients. “What I did was wrong. I deserve whatever punishment I get.”

A partial accounting that Wynn gave to regulators in May “showed that Wynn had taken $784,734 from numerous clients,” Keith Sellen, director of the Office of Lawyer Regulation, wrote in a report filed with the state Supreme Court last month. “Wynn estimated his … partial accounting was ‘90% complete.'”

Still, Wynn remains a licensed lawyer — he participated in a courtroom conference call just a month ago — and is in the center of a testy bankruptcy fight in which his testimony has gotten a former client in hot water. During the bankruptcy hearing, Jonathan Goodman, the bankruptcy attorney for Wynn’s former client, referred to Wynn as a “lying snake” and a “lying weasel.”

Wynn’s case provides insight into the glacial speed of Wisconsin’s secretive attorney regulatory process, a system in which the time between the receipt of a complaint about a lawyer and court action on that complaint can take years.

Wynn is not the only attorney who has kept his law license after admitting to committing felonies involving clients. Grafton lawyer Richard Kranitz remains a member of the state bar, even though three months ago he agreed in federal court to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud. Kranitz was arrested in December 2011; this month he was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison.

Like Wynn, Kranitz is listed as being in good standing on the state bar’s lawyer search website as well as the one operated by the Office of Lawyer Regulation, the policing arm of the state Supreme Court.

On June 19 — about seven months after Wynn says he first told regulators and prosecutors of his thievery — the Office of Lawyer Regulation filed Wynn’s petition for voluntary revocation of his law license.

The petition is pending before the state Supreme Court.

William Weigel, the OLR’s litigation counsel, defended the pace of the agency’s investigations.
“The lawyer regulation process is rules-based, accurate and thorough,” Weigel wrote in an email. “… If OLR is perceived sometimes as not publicly jumping on a case from the get-go, well, we place a premium on getting it done right rather than rushing to get it done quickly.”

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Attorney who admitted theft still has law license

LaPlace Lawyer Indicted for Felony Theft and Forgery

July 25, 2013

A LaPlace lawyer has been indicted in connection with stealing more than $50,000 from multiple clients, one of them elderly, prosecutors said today.

Kerry D. Brown, 42, of 144 East Lakeview Drive, was indicted Monday by a St. John the Baptist Parish grand jury on one count of felony theft, one count of compounding a felony, and six counts of forgery.

An investigation by Louisiana State Police and the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel revealed that Brown, a personal injury attorney, represented clients from October 2010 to April 2011 in several automobile accidents, allegedly failing to notify clients of settlements and failing to give funds to clients who were owed money. Brown surrendered to Louisiana State Police in May 2012 after a warrant for his arrest was issued.

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LaPlace Lawyer Indicted for Felony Theft and Forgery

Man accused of stealing from elderly couple

July 21, 2013

A 51-year-old man today appeared in court facing theft and senior abuse charges.

Xavier Trace Douglas of My Lord’s Bay, Hamilton parish was charged with stealing a credit balance to the value of $70,000 belonging to an elderly couple.

Mr Douglas was also charged with abusing the couple by financial exploitation.

The offences allegedly happened on September 21 in Pembroke.

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Man accused of stealing from elderly couple

Bank not liable for lawyer’s theft from account

August 4, 2012

A client whose attorney misappropriated funds from a client account at a bank could not hold the bank liable, the Supreme Judicial Court has ruled.

The client argued that the bank should have recognized that the attorney, Morris M. Goldings, was engaged in the misappropriation of client funds based on his unauthorized transfer of $200,000 of his law firm’s IOLTA funds in late 1999 or early 2000, many months before the client wired the $5 million to Goldings’s client account.

“Where the summary judgment record does not reflect whether the law firm’s clients suffered any loss from this unauthorized transfer, this information alone is insufficient to support a reasonable inference that the bank knew that Goldings was using his client account at the bank in July, 2000, to misappropriate funds from his clients,” Justice Ralph D. Gants replied for a unanimous court. “Without such knowledge, the bank did not have a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent the misappropriation.”

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Bank not liable for lawyer’s theft from account