Sunday, July 02, 2017

Like Father, Like Son? Six Years After Lawyer-Dad Found Guilty Of Fleecing Dead Client Out Of $900K+, Lawyer-Son Gets Pinched For Allegedly Stealing Hundred$ Of Thousand$ From Deceased Clients (& Their Heirs, Beneficiaries); Cops: Loot Included Sale Proceeds Of One Victim's Home

In Sarasota, Florida, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports:
  • A family whose members said they are victims of a Venice lawyer arrested Tuesday [June 6] for exploiting the estates of at least three elderly clients said they were going to use the money from their deceased uncle’s estate to pay for their children’s college education in the fall.

    The family said they spoke to detectives Friday morning [June 2] and that estate attorney Adam Miller, 38, of Venice has not been charged in connection with their case yet. A family member, who wished to remain anonymous, said that Miller was placed in charge of their uncle’s estate after he died in 1999.

    All I know is that my children’s trusts are gone, almost $500,000,” the woman said. “My youngest was supposed to start college after summer vacation; my oldest daughter has two small children, and my son is only 10.

    “I can’t believe that he did this, I find it so unreal.”

    The woman said that even after Raymond Miller — the father of Adam Miller — was arrested in 2010 and sentenced to four years in prison for stealing nearly $1 million from the estate of Holocaust survivor Beila Millet of North Port, her aunt transferred the account to Adam Miller.

    The aunt passed away in 2014, the woman said.

    “It makes you lose trust; my children are devastated,” the woman said.

    The woman said her uncle made his money operating bowling alleys. She said she expected detectives to file charges in connection with their case this week.

    On Tuesday, Adam Miller was charged with one count of exploitation of elderly, and three counts of scheme to defraud three different estates. He allegedly misappropriated $408,850 from the estate of a deceased Englewood couple.

    Raymond Miller had pleaded no contest to a charge he stole $941,256 from Beila Millet of North Port. She reportedly survived medical experiments in a Nazi concentration camp.

    As part of the plea agreement, Raymond Miller was sentenced to four years in prison and was placed on probation until he paid back the money.

    Millet had left the money to Israeli hospitals, schools and veterans’ groups when she died at age 93 in 2006. Raymond Miller only disbursed about $122,000 within months, but more than 50 beneficiaries never received their money, which is now gone.

    According to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office:

    Adam Miller, who was not involved in the 2010 case, also was tapping into the trusts of his clients.

    George and Eileen Johnston hired Adam Miller as their trustee and power of attorney in August 2013 to control six financial accounts, but immediately following their deaths (Eileen in 2014, and George in 2015) Adam Miller allegedly began to write and deposit high-dollar checks to himself or his law firm from accounts belonging to the Johnstons’ Trust. The funds were beyond normal attorney’s fees, detectives stated in the report.

    Financial records show that Adam Miller received an estimated $130,000 from the Johnstons’ Englewood Bank account from July 2014 until George Johnston died in Febrary 2015. The attorney also received an estimated $24,500 from a Fifth Third Bank account from November 2014 until November 2015. The checks were drawn by Miller or counter withdrawals.

    After the sale of the Johnstons’ Englewood home in March 2015, Adam Miller opened an Englewood Bank and Trust account to deposit a check for $264,389.37 under an account titled “George and Eileen Johnston Trust.”

    Adam Miller allegedly received another $231,000 from the Englewood bank account from November 2015 to March 2016.

    Detectives determined that Adam Miller paid the Johnstons’ beneficiaries only $25,500 after the couple’s deaths. None of Adam Miller’s business or personal bank accounts show the funds being disbursed to beneficiaries, the sheriff’s report said.

    Sheriff’s detectives, along with the FBI, executed a search warrant on Adam Miller’s business and home and identified at least two other estates that were allegedly victims of fraud.

    The Sheriff’s Office said the investigation is ongoing and additional charges could be filed in the case.
Source: Venice lawyer charged with stealing over $400K from elderly clients.

For a story update, see Venice estate lawyer faces new charges:
  • Adam R. Miller, a former elected member of the Sarasota County Charter Review Board and a Venice attorney accused of stealing from the estates he was hired to protect, is facing a new charge, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.

    Another scheming to defraud charge was lodged against Miller stemming from the case of a Venice family. He had already been charged with exploitation of the elderly and three counts of scheming to defraud three other estate trusts.

    He was first elected to the Charter Review Board in 2006 and attended his last meeting Jan. 18, 2012. His term ended in 2014, according to a Sarasota County spokesman.

    The charges were similar to those against his father, disbarred Venice attorney Raymond Miller, who was found guilty in 2011 and served four years in prison.
    According to the Sheriff’s Office:

    Detectives investigating the cases of three victims discovered another possible victim in Venice.

    Miller allegedly opened four accounts under the estate of the Venice woman in 2014, but over a one-year period withdrew an estimated $528,482 and deposited funds into his personal account and business accounts. Only minimal disbursements were made to the beneficiaries of the Venice woman who died in January 2014, detectives said.

    A member of the Venice woman’s family, who wished to remain anonymous, said the money from the trust was going to be used for the college education of children in the family, including a daughter who starts college in the fall.

    “I can’t believe that he did this; I find it so unreal,” said the family member of Adam Miller.

    The family member said the money belonged to their uncle, who operated two area bowling alleys. Even after Raymond Miller was found guilty of stealing $941,000 from the estate of Holocaust survivor Beila Millet, the family member said their aunt trusted Adam Miller enough to transfer the account to him. POA abuse