Thursday, November 24, 2016

One Year After Resigning From Bar (After 40 Years Of Law Practice) Amid Embezzlement Allegations, Criminal Charges Finally Catch Up To Aging Ex-Lawyer Accused Of Fleecing Five Clients For Over $200K

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Tulsa World reports:
  • A former real estate attorney who practiced law in Tulsa for 40 years has been charged with embezzlement amid allegations that he misused his clients’ settlement money, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt announced [].

    Robert John Nichols, 67, was charged with five counts of embezzlement and one count of delivery of a forged instrument [], according to court documents.
    ***
    Prosecutors allege that Nichols embezzled in excess of $200,000 from five clients(1) that he represented in cases related to the condemnation of property, Pruitt said in a news release.

    In each case, Pruitt said, Nichols is “believed to have used funds intended to go to trust accounts for each victim for unintended purposes.”

    Additionally, Nichols is accused of forging a signature and depositing a check made out to one of his clients.
    ***
    In October 2015, Nichols resigned and relinquished his right to practice law after allegations that he misused his clients’ settlement money arose.

    “It’s disheartening to hear of allegations against an attorney who clients entrust,” Pruitt said. “My office has a responsibility to uphold the law, and when it is being broken, we will prosecute and make sure bad actors are not getting away with fraudulent activity.”

    If convicted of all six counts, Nichols could face up to 57 years in prison and fines of $50,000 plus restitution to the victims, Pruitt said.
For more, see Ex-Tulsa attorney arrested, charged with embezzlement (Ex-real estate lawyer charged with embezzlement, fraud).
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(1) The Clients' Security Fund is a fund established by the Oklahoma Supreme Court to reimburse clients who suffer loss of money or other property from the dishonest conduct of their Oklahoma-licensed attorney. The Fund is a remedy of last resort for clients who cannot be repaid or recover money from other sources, such as insurance, a bonding company or from the attorney involved. Claimants are expected to make reasonable efforts to collect from these other sources first before submitting a claim to the Fund.

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.

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