May 2, 2011
How Do You Get A Half A Million Dollars?
You ask fot it.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court accepted a resignation and disbarred the attorney by consent in the following circumstances.
While employed by a tax consulting firm, the attorney "discovered that the Montgomery County [Maryland] Treasury Office website could be easily searched for companies due tax refunds... Respondent began stealing the unauthorized real property tax refund checks simply by contacting the Montgomery County Treasury Office and requesting that a refund check be mailed out." He did so for a period of years to the tune of over $500,000.
Why was Montgomery County so lax?
According to the petition for discipline, there was a backlog of 16,000 overpayments in the county office. The theft scheme stopped in 2005 when the county "changed its policies and required that the actual taxpayer, due a refund, be in direct contact with the County." Thereafter, two legitimate payees sought refunds and were told that the checks already had been issued. The trail quickly led to the attorney, who fully admitted his crimes and cooperated fully with the State's Attorney's Office.
He was sentenced to prison for five years with all but 18 months suspended. (Mike Frisch)
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