Saturday, April 01, 2017

Disbarred Over A Year Ago, Ex-Lawyer Finally Gets Visit From Criminal Authorities, Nailing Her With Charges For Allegedly Stealing Nearly $97K From Four Ex-Clients

In Chester County, Pennsylvania, the Daily Local reports:
  • A disbarred attorney is facing multiple counts of theft and forgery for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from four of her former clients, including the estates of two county residents, by pocketing money for doing little or no work on their legal matters, according to court documents.

    The county District Attorney’s Office in February filed criminal charges against Kristi Ann Fredericks of Downingtown for the thefts that amount to almost $97,000.(1) She was arraigned by Magisterial District Justice Grover Koon of Valley and released on an unsecured bail of $100,000. A preliminary hearing in the case has been set before Koon for April 24.

    Fredericks, also known by her married name of Kristi Ann McQuillan, had offices in Malvern, King of Prussia, Coatesville, and Downingtown. She was disbarred by consent by the state Supreme Court in December 2015 after an investigation of various complaints against her by the court’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

    In a 29-page criminal complaint authored by Chester County Detective Kristin C. Lund and approved by Chief Deputy District Attorney Ronald Yen, Fredericks is accused of writing large checks to herself without permission from two estates that she had been hired to handle and guide through the Orphans Court process.

    The complaint also alleges that Fredericks took $11,000 in fees from two other clients to handle various legal matters, including a land subdivision and a pension matter. Although she claimed to have worked on those cases at an hourly rate of as much as $325 and provided work sheets showing what she had reputed to have done for the clients, Lund found that Fredericks did little or no work at all on the case. For one client, she took $5,000 for a case she should have billed only $167.50 for, the complaint states.

    Lund wrote that Fredericks “unlawfully took money from clients; obtained monies from clients by making material representations or by deception; obtained from clients retainers but, instead of holding the retainers in escrow or in trust, deposited them into her own business or personal accounts, forged and uttered a forged fee agreement; and attempted to steal client money by submitting a false and fraudulent bill.

    Fredericks, 41, had been practicing law in Pennsylvania since 2006, and also practiced in New Jersey. She is charged with six counts of felony theft by unlawful taking, four counts of failure to make required disposition of funds, three counts of theft by deception, five counts of receiving stolen property, 13 counts of forgery, and two counts each of tampering with records and unsworn falsification.
For more, see Detective: Attorney stole money from clients.
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(1) The Pennsylvania Lawyers Fund for Client Security was established by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in 1982 to reimburse clients (at least partially, if not fully) 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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