Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, October 12, 2012

Disbarred Attorney Set to go to Jail For Stealing From an Estate

Estate DisputeRoger J. Niemel, a disbarred North Tonawanda attorney, has accepted a two-year sentence for "third-degree grand larceny and second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument." Mr. Niemel agreed to the sentence through a plea bargain that he accepted. He committed the alleged thefts from 2005 to 2008 by stealing from the estate of Chester Kawalec. However, this was not the first time that Mr. Niemel has committed such an act. In 2011, he previously lost his law license for this exact crime. In March of that year, he misappropriated $20,500 from a Grand Island woman. In the course of the act, Niemel also violated a number of rules from the code of professional conduct.

In this instance, Mr. Niemel wrote a number of checks to himself that range from as little as $500 to as much as $5000. When confronted about why he committed this offense, Mr. Niemel tried to blame his co-executor and one of the beneficiaries, Marcia Poirer-DeNapoli. Mr. Niemel claimed that she would freely give him the money for the estate. He further claimed that he needed to pay the bills of the estate. The assistant district attorney working the case argued that even if we were to accept Mr. Niemel's argument the estate did not have that many bills to equal the amount that was taken from the estate.

See Thomas Prohaska, Disbarred NT Lawyer Headed to Jail For Looting Estate, The Buffalo News, Oct. 6, 2012.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.


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