Sunday, July 09, 2017

Judge Slams NC Lawyer With 12 To 16.5-Year Prison Sentence After Guilty Plea To Fleecing Dead Client's Estate (& 13-Year Old Surviving Child) Out Of $1.5 Million; State Client Security Fund To Cough Up $181K In Partial Reimbursement To Deceased Victim's Now 21-Year Old Son

In Lincoln County, North Carolina, the Lincoln Times-News reports:
  • Pete Capece, a former Lincoln County attorney with the Jonas Law Firm, was sentenced to serve two consecutive terms of 72-99 months in prison on Monday after pleading guilty to misappropriating a client’s $1.5 million estate.

    Capece was convicted on six counts of Class C felony embezzlement for crimes involving more than $100,000 and five additional counts of Class H felony embezzlement for crimes involving less than $100,000. In total, Capece was sentenced to 12-16.5 years in a state penitentiary followed by three consecutive suspended sentences of 6-9, 6-17 and 6-17 months. Upon his release from prison, Capece will be placed on supervised probation for 60 months and ordered to make restitution.

    Capece is responsible for stealing funds from the Fritz Detmers estate and using that money to pay himself, take care of phone bills and shopping debt, buy an engagement ring for his former secretary and finance their beachfront Hilton Head wedding. He also used the money to invest in his secretary’s failed boutique and he pawned Detmers’ coin collection for nearly $30,000.

    The majority of Detmers’ estate had been willed to his son, John Paul “Tols” Detmers, who was 13 at the time of his father’s death in 2009 and is now 21 years old.

    Tols Detmers will receive $181,000 from a Client Security Fund established by the North Carolina Supreme Court(1) in 1984 to reimburse clients who have suffered financial loss as the result of dishonest conduct of lawyers like Capece.

    The state alleges that Charlinette Detmers, Tols Detmers’ biological mother, received more than $500,000 from Capece rather than the $60,000 that had been willed to her. Charlinette Detmers told the State Bureau of Investigations that she and Capece had been involved in a sexual relationship. Charlinette Detmers is still facing charges for her role in the embezzlement of Frtiz Detmers’ estate, but no court date has been set at this time.
Source: Attorney who stole $1.5 million sentenced to at least 12 years in prison.
(1) 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.