Inside Track: Fund for Client Protection approves reimbursements for 12 victims of lawyer theft:

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  • Fund for Client Protection approves reimbursements for 12 victims of lawyer theft

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    Sept. 7, 2011 – The Wisconsin Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection Committee approved $325,030 in reimbursements to 12 victims of lawyer theft at its August meeting. The committee considered 30 claims. Eleven claims were denied and six were deferred. The dollar amount being sought for the deferred claims totals $392,452.

    "That the committee approved over $300,000 in claims should be looked upon in two lights,” says committee chair Lindsey Draper. “It is always troubling to know that clients who have placed their trust in lawyers have been hurt by bad acts of some of the attorneys. But it is extremely heartening to be able - on behalf of the overwhelming membership of the profession – to help make those clients whole."

    Disbursements

    Claims were approved for clients of:

    • the late Fred Bardenwerper, Milwaukee (one claim for unearned advanced fees, $1,000)

    • Bridget Eileen Boyle, Milwaukee (one claim for unearned advanced fees, $5,000)

    • Robert Paul D’Arruda, Milwaukee (one claim for unearned advanced fees, $500)

    • Peter T. Elliott, Oconomowoc (one claim for theft from an estate, $131,101)

    • Arik J. Guenther, Jackson (one claim for unearned advanced fees, $3,227)

    • Donald A. Hahnfeld, West Allis (one claim for a trust account conversion, $14,400)

    • William R. Lamb, Menomonie (one claim for unearned advanced fees, $1,500)

    • Christopher A. Mutschler, Fond du Lac (two claims for unearned advanced fees, totaling $12,650)

    • John N. O’Brien, Delavan (one claim for unearned advance fees, $1,500)

    • Gerald D. Stang, Wausau (two claims for theft from an estate, totaling $154,152)

    About the fund

    The Wisconsin Supreme Court established the fund, formerly named the Clients’ Security Fund, in 1981 to reimburse people who lost money through dishonest acts of Wisconsin attorneys. Claims include unearned retainer, theft from estate, misappropriation of funds, conversion of trust account funds, and theft by investment. Claims for reimbursement and all proceedings of the committee are subject to  SCR 12.04-12. Reimbursement decisions are made at the discretion of the committee, which meets three times a year. The committee meets again in November and March.

    For more information about the fund, email org kwenzel wisbar Kris Wenzel or call (800) 444-9404, ext. 6185, or (608) 250-6185.




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