As Victims Continue Coming Forward, Theft Indictments Begin Piling Up Against Aging Disbarred Lawyer Who Got Bar Boot For Allegedly Pilfering Over $950K From Dead Clients & Their Heirs
- A disbarred Bristol, Tennessee, attorney who was ordered last month to pay nearly $1 million in restitution to multiple estates and trusts has been indicted again on theft charges.
Ongoing case work by special agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has resulted in additional indictments for Don W. Cooper, 71, who is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from estates for which he served as executor.
At the request of Sullivan County District Attorney General Barry Staubus, the TBI began investigating Cooper in November 2015. According to the TBI, agents learned that between August 2011 and November 2013, Cooper stole funds in excess of $60,000 from an estate he was hired to manage.
Last week, a Sullivan County grand jury returned indictments charging Cooper with six counts of theft over $10,000 and one count of theft over $60,000. Cooper turned himself in Wednesday [March 8] and was booked into the Sullivan County jail. He was released after posting a $15,000 bond.
Indictments filed last week state Cooper “did unlawfully, feloniously and knowingly obtain property” of an estate and the beneficiaries of family trusts.
Cooper was previously indicted in April 2016 on one count of theft over $250,000 and again in July 2016 on one count of theft over $10,000. Those charges involve the theft of funds from other estates for which he served as executor, according to indictments.
***Effective Feb. 23, the board disbarred Cooper, who was first licensed in 1970, and ordered him to pay $952,759.37 to the estates.(1)
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:
- Directory Of Lawyers' Funds For Client Protection (February 2017) (includes a listing for Canadian client protection funds, courtesy of the American Bar Association);
- Check the USA Client Protection Funds Map;
- Check the Canada Client Protection Funds Map.