Monday, February 29, 2016

Another Over-The-Hill Attorney Gets Frog-Marched To Prison; Accused Of Bleeding $1.2 Million From Two Elderly Clients, Gets 6 To 20 Years On State Charges & Awaits Sentencing On Separate Federal Prosecution

In Emmet County, Michigan, reports:
  • A lawyer who stole $100,000 from an elderly client with Alzheimer's was sentenced to prison [last week], said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

    Michael Aho Kennedy, 67, of Petoskey, stole more than $100,000 from a client by making a number of transactions siphoning funds from the victim's trust and placing them into his office checking account.

    Judge Charles W. Johnson sentenced Kennedy to six to 20 years in prison []. Kennedy was also ordered to pay $1,141,298 in restitution in addition to any state fees and costs.

    Investigators believe the theft began in 2006 but due to statute of limitations, Kennedy's actions could only be investigated as far back as 2009.

    The victim's entire trust was drained, an amount in excess of $100,000.

    Kennedy was disbarred last March.

    Kennedy plead guilty last month to mail fraud and filing a false tax return in a federal case in which he wiped out a client's $1.2 million trust.(1)

    Personal expenses the money was used for include his children's college tuition, repairs to his cottage, purchase of a horse and vacations in Bora Bora, Madrid, Tahiti and Turkey, the government said.

    Kennedy will be sentenced for the second case on April 11.
Source: Lawyer who stole more than $100K from client with Alzheimer's sentenced to prison.

See Disbarred Attorney Cops Pleas To Both Federal & State Charges In Connection w/ Draining Over $1 Million From Since-Deceased, Alzheimer's Victim's Trust (When Victim's Money Ran Out, He Then Fleeced Another Elderly Client Out Of $114K for an earlier post on this story).
(1) The Client Protection Fund of the State Bar of Michigan is a program established by the State Bar of Michigan Board of Commissioners, as authorized by the Michigan Supreme Court, to reimburse clients who have been victimized by lawyers who violate the profession’s ethical standards and misappropriate funds entrusted to them.

For similar "attorney ripoff reimbursement funds" that attempt to clean up 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.

See generally:
  • N.Y. fund for cheated clients wants thieving lawyers disbarred, a July, 2015 Associated Press story on this Fund reporting that the Fund's executive director, among other things, is calling for prompt referral to the local district attorney when the disciplinary committee has uncontested evidence of theft by a lawyer injuring a client or an admission of culpability;

    When Lawyers Steal the Escrow, a June, 2005 New York Times story describing some cases of client reimbursements ("With real estate business surging and down-payment amounts rising with home prices, the temptation for a lawyer to filch money from a bulging escrow account and later repay it with other clients' money has never been greater, said lawyers who monitor the thefts."),

    Thieving Lawyers Draining Client Security Funds, a December, 1991 New York Times story that gives some-real life examples of how client security funds deal with claims and the pressures the administrators of those funds may feel when left insufficiently financed as a result of the misconduct of a handful of lawyer/scoundrels.

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