Sunday, May 08, 2016

Disbarred Last Year For For Fleecing $65K From Dead Man's Estate, Attorney (Finally) Gets Pinched By Authorities In Connection w/ Embezzlement

In Billings, Montana, the Billings Gazette reports:
  • A Billings attorney disbarred last year for mishandling a client’s $300,000 settlement is now facing federal fraud charges from the case. Appearing for arraignment in U.S. District Court on April 29, Randy Scott Laedeke pleaded not guilty to two charges of wire fraud.

    An indictment accuses Laedeke of embezzling about $65,497 for personal expenses from a client who had received a $300,000 settlement over the death of her husband. The fraud ran for six years, from 2008 until Dec. 31, 2014, the indictment said.

    Prosecutor Colin Rubich alleged that Laedeke was hired to represent the estate of “W.N.,” who was killed in a car crash in 2005, and settled the case for $300,000. The heirs included the deceased’s wife and daughter.

    Laedeke, under the terms of his contract, deducted $184,599 for his fee and legal expenses, leaving $115,401 to distribute among the heirs. He dispersed $49,903 to W.N.’s wife, leaving $65,497 that should have been distributed among the other heirs, Rubich said.

    Instead, Laedeke used the money for personal expenses, the prosecutor said.

    Last year, the Montana Supreme Court disbarred Laedeke over his handling of the case, in which W.N. was identified as William Newberg.

    Laedeke had been on an indefinite suspension since January 2015 for another complaint and had requested an additional suspension, not disbarment. The court said no.

    The Supreme Court justices, in their ruling, agreed with the recommendations from the Commission on Practice, which said Laedeke’s actions “reflect blatant disregard of his obligations as an attorney, and bring disrespect to the profession as well as harm the public.”