When an attorney is involved in fraud, it's a sad day for every attorney who is committed to upholding his or her chosen profession. After all, clients deserve to be fairly represented, not taken advantage of. However, in one New Jersey case involving a West Orange lawyer, fraud is exactly what happened.
The attorney has admitted his guilt, and will spend -- at the most -- 11 years incarcerated after being sentenced in early February. He admits to taking more than $360K from his clients throughout the years. He also confesses to practicing law in an unauthorized fashion, as he received a suspension from the Supreme Court of New Jersey in the summer of 2012 but kept representing clients. He was formerly disbarred from practicing in June 2013.
The methods used to commit the fraud varied. In some instances, he misappropriated estate assets. In other cases, he took monies from trust fund accounts that were meant for real estate deals.
The true victims of his fraud crimes are the clients who trusted in him to represent them truthfully and fairly. For each person who was deceived, a myriad of other people were no doubt also affected, including spouses, children, family members, friends and business partners. Every individual who has placed his or her legal needs in the hands of an attorney who later betrayed him or her has a right to pursue legal malpractice charges. At this time, there is no word as to whether the New Jersey lawyer at the center of this case is facing additional charges from former clients.
Source: courierpostonline.com, State Update: Disbarred lawyer says he took $362K, No author, Dec. 25, 2013