Saturday, February 25, 2017

Disbarred Attorney Faces Multiple Felony Charges For Alleged Pre-Disbarment Pilfer Of $50K In Connection With Settling Estate

In Allentown, Pennsylvania, The Morning Call reports:
  • A former South Whitehall attorney took $50,000 from his client, who happened to be a Lehigh County detective, to pay off an estate tax in 2009 but instead kept the money for himself,(1)(2) District Attorney Jim Martin announced Friday [February 3].

    Glenn D. McGogney, 70, of [...] Upper Macungie was charged Friday with theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received, theft by deception and receiving stolen property, all felonies. He was arraigned by District Judge Rod Beck and released on $50,000 unsecured bail.

    McGogney was disbarred in 2012 for bilking a client of $25,000 in an effort to salvage his investment in a failing Bucks County strip club.

    In 2009, McGogney was practicing law on Route 309 in South Whitehall and represented Christopher Cruz and his wife after they became executors for the estate of their friend, Charles J. Knautz, authorities said.

    In November of that year, McGogney drafted a document that showed the estate owed $42,507.53 in tax liability to the state Department of Revenue, authorities said. Cruz wrote a check for $50,049.15 to cover the tax and attorney fees.

    For several years after that, Cruz received several tax delinquency notices that said he failed to pay the estate tax, authorities said. Cruz contacted McGogney and gave him the documents he received and McGogney told him he would take care of the problem, authorities said.

    After receiving another delinquency notice in 2014, Cruz's wife requested a copy of the original check from her bank. The bank found that the check had been deposited in McGogney's bank account, authorities said.

    For two years, Christopher Cruz attempted to resolve the issue with McGogney, but was unable to, so he filed a theft report in September, and South Whitehall police Detective Chad Moyer began an investigation.

    Moyer confirmed the taxes were not paid.
Source: Attorney stole $50,000 tax check from client, Lehigh County DA says.
(1) See generally, Frederick Miller, "If You Can't Trust Your Lawyer .... ?", 138 Univ. of Pennsylvania Law Rev. 785 (1990) for more on the apparent, long-standing tolerance for deceit by many in the legal profession (while Professor Miller's essay is over a quarter-century old, it appears that his observations maintain their vitality to this day):
  • This tolerance to deception is encouraged by the profession's institutional civility. Seldom is a fig called a fig, or a shyster a shyster. No, our euphemisms are wonderfully polite: "frivolous conduct," or a "lack of candor;" or "law-office failure;" or, heaven forbid, a "peculation," a "defalcation," or a "negative balance" in a law firms's trust account.

    There is also widespread reluctance on the part of lawyers --- again, some lawyers --- to discuss publicly, much less acknowledge, that they have colleagues who engage in deceit and unprofessional conduct.

    This reluctance is magnified when the brand of deceit involves the theft of client money and property, notwithstanding that most lawyers would agree that stealing from clients is the ultimate ethical transgression.
    The fact is, however, that theft of client property is not an insignificant or isolated problem within the legal profession. Indeed, it is a hounding phenomenon nationwide, and probably the principal reason why most lawyers nationwide are disbarred from the practice of law.
(2) The Pennsylvania Lawyers Fund for Client Security which was established by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in 1982 to reimburse clients who have suffered a loss as a result of a misappropriation of funds by their Pennsylvania attorney.

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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