Saturday, August 14, 2021
Pennsylvania lawyer William Krtzon has been suspended for six months for giving a trusted employee another chance "after she stole from his aunt's estate. . ." Krtzon was suspended for "failing to supervise the employee, who stole additional money from seven estates represented by the lawyer."
Krtzon testified that he was surprised about the employee's thefts. Krtzon also testified that he put a lot of trust in the employee, Joy Hale and thought that she was the "perfect secretary."
Krtzon hired Hale in 2008 to handle estate accounting and perform other duties. Krtzon learned that Hale had stolen $3,300 from his aunt's estate by writing a check and forging his signature. Krtzon required Hale to repay the estate through a reduction in pay. Even after learning of Hale's theft, Krtzon gave Hale another chance.
Despite the second chance, Hale continued to steal money from Krtzon's clients' estates. In May 2016, one of Krtzon's clients informed him that Hale was misrepresenting account balances. Krtzon actually told the client that she was mistaken, but the client pushed forward with an investigation.
Although Krtzon was aware of the investigation, he continued to imply Hale for two more months. Hale later plead guilty to criminal charges of theft and forgery.
The Pennsylvania disciplinary board said Krtzon "violated ethics rules requiring lawyers to act with reasonable diligence, to keep clients reasonably informed, to keep accurate accounting records, and to supervise non lawyers to ensure that their conduct is compatible with a lawyer's professional obligations."
See Debra Cassens Weiss, Lawyer who gave 'perfect' secretary a second chance after theft is suspended after misjudging her, ABA Journal, August 12, 2021.
Special thanks to Adam J. Hirsch (Professor of Law at the University of San Diego School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.