Sunday, May 07, 2017

Fleeced Out Of $2.3 Million From Dead Mother's Estate By Thieving Attorney, Victims Take Case Against NH Lawyer Ripoff Reimbursement Fund To State High Court To Seek Maximum Recovery Of Stolen Loot

In Concord, New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Union Leader reports:
  • The state Supreme Court on Wednesday [April 19] heard arguments in a 16-year-old case involving a blind man and his brother who were bilked out of $2.3 million by a Manchester lawyer with help from his police captain brother.

    At issue is whether the New Hampshire Public Protection Fund, maintained by the New Hampshire Bar Association to compensate the victims of dishonest attorneys,(1) should be on the hook for the maximum allowed payout of $150,000, as the family maintains, or only $14,000, as lawyers for the fund maintain.

    Thomas Tessier, a once-prominent Manchester lawyer, was sentenced to six years in prison for stealing $2.3 million from Thaddeus Jakobiec and his brother, Dr. Frederic Jakobiec, in the years following the death of their mother in 2001.

    Tessier’s brother, retired Manchester Police Capt. Michael E. Tessier, was sentenced to one year in jail for theft of $75,000 from the Jakobiec’s trust.

    Money from the estate of the Jakobiecs’ mother, Beatrice Jakobiec, was intended in part to provide for Thaddeus Jakobiec, who had been blind since birth, was developmentally disabled and lived with his mother in their home in Manchester.

    Over the years since Beatrice Jakobiec died, the case has resulted in 10 different lawsuits against various parties, including the Merrill Lynch Insurance Company as the Jakobiecs and their attorney, Steven Latici of Gilmanton, tried to recover some of the losses through probate bonds, restitution and court settlements.

    “I guarantee you, this is the last Jakobiec case you will hear,” said Latici as he began his argument on Wednesday.

    “We’ve heard that before,” responded Chief Justice Linda Dalianis.

    He argued that legal fees and other factors should be considered in the amount still owed the Jakobiecs as they appeal to “the fund of last resort,” the Public Protection Fund, having exhausted all other sources.

    Latici said an analysis of what was stolen versus what was recovered would support a $150,000 payment, and urged the justices to remand the case to Probate Court.

    “This whole argument that Thaddeus has been made whole is premised on some pretty extraordinary conclusions,” he said.

    Attorney Keith Diaz, representing the fund, said that Thaddeus Jakobiec had been “made whole” by various payments made over the years, except for the $14,000 that the fund agrees should be paid.

    He cited the rules governing the fund, which state that its payouts “shall not include interest on money lost or money spent on attorney’s fees.”

    “It’s a fund of last resort, and you have to recover everything you can from third parties before we make any payments,” Diaz said.

    He argued the justices should give “deference” to those rules in its consideration.

    Justice James Bassett sounded unconvinced.

    “Whether you should net out attorney fees depends on our interpretation of the regulation,” he said. “So we don’t owe deference to the (fund) committee on that.”

    The high court could send the case back to Probate Court or rule in favor of either side.
Source: Family bilked out of millions appeals to 'Public Protection Fund'.
(1) The New Hampshire Public Protection Fund has been established by the New Hampshire Supreme Court "to provide a public service and to promote confidence in the administration of justice and the integrity of the legal profession by providing some measure of reimbursement to victims who have lost money or property. . ." because of theft or misappropriation by a New Hampshire attorney, and occurring in New Hampshire during the course of a client-attorney or fiduciary relationship between the attorney and the ripped-off client.

For similar "attorney ripoff reimbursement funds" that sometimes help cover 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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