January 20, 2008
Two lawyers received federal sentences this past week. The first, a former lawyer in the Western District of Louisiana entered a plea that will net him 41 months in prison. A Press Release of the US Attorney's Office of the Western District of Louisiana states the attorney "pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to a bank and one count of forging securities of private entities." The release states that:
"beginning in 2002 while practicing law in Lafayette, [the attorney] established attorney/client lines of credit at a local bank which he used to finance his personal injury lawsuits. [The attorney] was obligated to pay off the bank’s line of credit after receiving funds generated by settling civil cases. On numerous occasions, when settlement proceeds were received by [the attorney], instead of repaying the bank’s line of credit, he requested extensions of time with the local bank and gave false reasons as to why the extensions were needed. In some instances, [the attorney] never repaid the line of credit.
Further investigation revealed that in 2003, [the attorney] opened several business accounts at another local bank, including a trust account, checking and payroll checking account, and personal accounts. [The attorney] admitted to forging the settlement checks from insurance companies received for certain clients and depositing the proceeds into his account without the client’s knowledge or consent.
The second attorney received a sentence of 6 1/2 years. The ABA Jrl states that the accused had pursued "baseless diet drug litigation on behalf of clients." See ABA Jrl here and Mississippi Sun Herald here.
(esp) (w/ a hat tip to John Wesley Hall)
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