Sunday, July 30, 2017

Victim Count For Attorney Accused Of Fleecing His Clients Out Of Entrusted Money Now Up To 17, But DA Believes There May Be Others

In Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, The Mercury reports:
  • A Montgomery County attorney has been disbarred and charged with additional offenses after more victims claim they paid for legal work that was not performed.

    The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office announced that additional charges have been filed against Patrick J. Bradley, 45, of Collegeville, who was originally arrested on April 10 on other charges. Those charges included multiple felony and misdemeanor charges related to the theft and misappropriation of $146,917.01 in client funds.

    Authorities said five more victims have come forward after news spread of the original charges. The victims claim they suffered losses after paying for legal work that was not performed or not fully performed as well as the misappropriation of funds overseen by Bradley. Their losses totaled $13,954.19, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

    Bradley had been authorized to use the money to pay the living expenses of a woman in a facility in Berks County. Authorities allege he instead used the funds from the five new victims to pay for items such as utility bills, restaurant and fast food meals, gas, cellular phone service, retail purchases and other personal items.

    “These victims believed they were paying for legal work by a reputable attorney who was in good standing and licensed,” said Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele. “Instead, the defendant took money for work he was not authorized to perform, never fully performed or that he stole from funds he was to safeguard for the benefit of an individual. He took advantage of good people for his own gain.”

    Authorities said victims were given information about the Pennsylvania Lawyers Fund for Client Security, whose mission is to reimburse victims of attorney dishonesty in the practice of law.(1) A portion of the dues that every attorney pays to be licensed to practice law goes to the fund.

    The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office said they have already located 17 victims but believe there may be others.

    Anyone with information about questionable legal interactions or use of their funds by Bradley is asked to contact the Montgomery County Detective Bureau at 610-278-3368.

    Bradley has been charged with dealing in the proceeds of unlawful activities, theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception, receiving stolen property, deceptive business practices, unauthorized practice of law and related charges. He was arraigned before District Judge Cathleen Rebar and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Aug. 22 again before Rebar. Bail was set at $50,000 unsecured and Bradley was released.
Source: Montco attorney faces more charges on illegal use of funds.
(1) The Pennsylvania Lawyers Fund for Client Security has a $100,000 maximum award per claimant. Effective February 24, 2014, there will be a $1,000,000 aggregate cap per attorney. The Board may, in their discretion, request the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to permit payments of awards relating to one attorney to exceed the $1,000,000 aggregate cap. The decision to grant such a request lies solely with the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

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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