Wednesday, September 26, 2007
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that Louis Robles, once known as the "King of Torts" for his plaintiff's personal injury work, plead guilty last week to federal mail fraud charges. U.S. District Judge Alan Gold set sentencing for Dec. 4th. Robles faces a possible 15 year sentence. (Judge Gold had earlier rejected a plea that set a maximum 10 year sentence).
Between 1989 and 2002, Robles collected more than $164 million on behalf of roughly 7,000 asbestos clients, according to court records. Some were World War II veterans. Some were retirees living on Social Security checks. Some died of asbestos-related diseases, leaving spouses and children to recover settlement funds.
Initially, the settlement checks were promptly dispersed — with Robles' firm deducting up to 40 percent in attorneys' fees. But around 1994, Robles began dipping directly into settlement proceeds without his clients' knowledge to fund his extravagant lifestyle, prosecutors said.
. . .
By September 2002, Robles had embezzled $13,522,160 from his clients and had only $25,000 remaining in trust accounts.
His victims stand to collect roughly 8 cents for every dollar they are owed.
(Thanks to Overlawyered for the tip.)