Sunday, June 04, 2017

Judge Terminates Lawyer's Guardianship Duties Over 95-Year Old Dementia-Stricken Woman For Allegedly Grossly Overbilling Her $488K To Help Her Get Her Driver's License Back; His Associate Recently Copped Guilty Plea To Ripping Off Victim For $530K+

In Santa Ana, California, The Orange County Register reports:
  • An Orange County Superior Court judge on Thursday, May 25, took guardianship away from a suspended Santa Ana attorney who is the trustee for a 95-year-old woman he billed more than $488,000 to help her get her driver’s license back.(1)

    Wayne Irwin McClaskey has been suspended from practicing law since January 2015, for billing Lola Wilber $488,700 to “resist the adverse decision of the DMV on her driver’s license renewal,” according to the State Bar.

    But McClaskey remains Wilber’s trustee and has control over her trust containing at least $600,000, said Senior Deputy District Attorney Marc Labreche. He appeared at Thursday’s hearing as a “friend of the court” because he prosecuted McClaskey subordinate, Thomas Chapman Hood, who pleaded guilty to stealing about $534,000 from Wilber.(2)

    McClaskey sold Wilber’s home after taking out a reverse mortgage on the property, Labreche said.

    The Orange County Public Guardian is now in charge of caring for Wilber and her estate, Labreche said. A hearing will be held on July 5 to make the temporary order permanent.

    Hood, 69, pleaded guilty Monday to multiple felonies and was sentenced to five years of formal probation and 212 days in jail, or time already served in the case, Labreche said. The prosecutor worked out the plea deal based on Hood’s health, which has worsened in custody as he underwent a procedure on his heart in the medical ward, Labreche said.

    Hood put up $150,000 toward restitution to the victim, as well, according to Labreche, who said insisting on a prison sentence would have meant Wilber wouldn’t have gotten any money back.

    Hood, who stole the money by forging McCaskey’s signature on checks, is under an order to continue making full restitution, Labreche said.

    McClaskey also lost his right to practice law because he kited three checks on Wilber’s accounts.
Source: Judge takes guardianship from Santa Ana man after he’s suspected of stealing $488,000 from 95-year-old.
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(1) The California State Bar's Client Security Fund is a discretionary fund that can reimburse clients who have lost money or property due to theft or dishonesty by a California lawyer. It is a State Bar program funded entirely by California lawyers. The amount the fund may reimburse for theft committed by a California lawyer depends on when the loss occurred. A maximum of $50,000 is reimbursable if the loss occurred before January 1, 2009. A maximum of $100,000 is reimbursable if the loss occurred on or after January 1, 2009.

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.

(2) See Newport Coast man who stole $500,000 from elderly woman with dementia is sentenced to probation.

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