Saturday, December 03, 2016

Another Aging Lawyer Finds Himself In Hot Water; Faces Charges In One Alleged Client Theft, Investigators Suspect There Are Numerous Other Victims Who May Not Yet Realize They've Been Fleeced; Cops: Total Ripoff Could Top $1 Million

In Hardin County, Kentucky, WDRB-TV Channel 41 reports:
  • Police believe a Kentucky attorney was gambling away hundreds of thousands of dollars of his clients' money, and it may top a million dollars. And the FBI and police fear there may be more victims who do not know they've been duped.

    Attorney Danny Butler's office is in Greensburg, Ky. Police say he has a lot of local clients in Adair, Taylor, Green, Russell and LaRue Counties, but believe he may have scammed people in Jefferson and Hardin Counties and beyond.

    With Greensburg being a small town, Det. B.J. Burton says the options for an attorney are limited. "If you ask people who would you get for an attorney, I'm sure prior to this, his name would've come up very near the top of the list," said Burton, the Kentucky State Police detective working on the case.

    Danny Butler, 70, was arrested [] and taken to the Hardin County jail, charged with the theft of a client in Hardin County.

    Police and the FBI served search warrants at his home and law office [], confiscating financial records. KSP in Columbia are investigating several more cases.

    "Probably four or five that we have records we can prove and show, and a multitude that we're trying to sort through," said Det. Burton, who added they believe there are more victims who have no idea.

    "In some instances, it appears at least from looking at the financial records ... maybe he didn't pay any money to the clients when there's a settlement. In some cases he's paid them some money," Det. Burton said. "There's instances where, kind of like a ponzi scheme, as he had new clients come in, in some instances he would take money from new clients to pay older clients."

    Det. Burton says the stolen money could end up totaling more than a $1 million. "Safe to say it's probably more than a 1/2 million, but I don't know how much it'll be in the end."(1)

    He says Butler would take the money from estate and settlement cases he would handle. Police say the scheme unraveled when a pair of brothers waiting on estate money contacted authorities.

    "There was like a host of excuses as to why there was delay on the money coming from Mr. Butler," Det. Burton said.

    Police say they also think they know what he was doing with the cash.

    "There's some indication from financial records that there was some gambling going on," said Det. Burton, who added that police aren't sure how long he has been stealing from clients. "As of right now, I mean we're back at least eight years, but I don't know that that's the end of it."

    If you feel you may be a victim, or have any information, authorities ask that you call Kentucky State Police, post 15 in Columbia at 1-800-222-5555 or call the FBI at 502-263-6122.
Source: Attorney accused of swindling clients may have many victims in Kentucky.
(1) The Kentucky Supreme Court established a Clients' Security Fund "to promote public confidence in the administration of justice and the integrity of the legal profession” by providing some measure of restitution to clients who have lost money because of the dishonest, fraudulent acts, or other unethical conduct of a member of the Kentucky Bar Association. At present there are caps on recovery. There is a cap of $50,000 per claim, with a total cap per attorney of $150,000. If there are so many claims against an attorney that the cap is reached, awards may be reduced on a pro rata basis..

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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