From the Office of the Michigan Attorney General:
- Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette  announced the Attorney General's Criminal Division has charged a Mount Pleasant lawyer for an alleged scam targeting multiple Michigan residents in the vulnerable position of attempting to declare bankruptcy. The lawyer has since been disbarred and now faces criminal charges.
"Financial scams can devastate the lives of citizens who work hard to provide for their families," said Schuette. "Scams preying on individuals in fear of financial ruin are especially reprehensible. "Our office is committed to protecting the interests and dignity of Michigan citizens battling financial hardship."
The charges allege that between April 2007 through July 2009 James Roslund, 66, of Mount Pleasant, accepted payment from multiple clients with the understanding that he would represent them as they attempted to file for bankruptcy. Allegedly, instead of representing the interests of his victims, Mr. Roslund simply pocketed the money with no intention of completing the legal work he was hired to do.
The following charges have been filed by Schuette with the 84th District Court in Wexford County against James Roslund:
o One count of Conducting a Criminal Enterprise, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine;
o One count of Acquiring/Maintaining a Criminal Enterprise, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine;
o Three counts of False Pretenses - $1,000-$20,000, a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
The charges come as a result of an investigation by the State Bar of Michigan. When the Bar discovered that Mr. Roslund's alleged conduct was not only unethical, but criminal in nature, they contacted the Attorney General's Office for further investigation and prosecution.
"A primary function of the State Bar is to protect the public," said Julie Fershtman, President of the State Bar of Michigan. "While the vast majority of lawyers hold their clients' interests paramount and serve them ethically and professionally, unfortunately a few do not.
"Lawyers in Michigan fund a program to provide reimbursement in such cases, and it was this Client Protection Fund program that referred the Roslund case to the Attorney General."(1)
Roslund surrendered to authorities this morning without incident and is expected to be arraigned on the charges later today in Wexford County's 84th District Court.
(1) The Client Protection Fund of the State Bar of Michigan was established to reimburse clients who have suffered a loss due to misappropriation or embezzlement by a Michigan-licensed attorney.
For similar "attorney ripoff reimbursement funds" that sometimes help cover the financial mess created by the dishonest conduct of lawyers licensed in other states and Canada, see:
Maps available courtesy of The National Client Protection Organization, Inc.