Inside Track: Fund for Client Protection approves reimbursements for 8 victims of lawyer theft:

State Bar of Wisconsin

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  • Fund for Client Protection approves reimbursements for 8 victims of lawyer theft

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    Claims were approved for clients of:

    • the late Fred Bardenwerper, Milwaukee (one claim for unearned advanced fees, $1,000)
    • Mary K. Biester, Beloit (one claim for trust conversion, $78,000)
    • William J. Grogan, Appleton (one claim for trust account conversion $7,500)
    • Sherman W. Hackbarth, Madison (one claim for unearned advanced fees, $1,000)
    • William R. Lamb, Menomonie (one claim for unearned advanced fees, $3,000)
    • Christopher A. Mutschler, Fond du Lac (three claims for unearned advanced fees, totaling $14,000)

    Dec. 21, 2011 – The Wisconsin Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection Committee approved $103,500 in reimbursements to eight victims of lawyer theft at its November meetings. The committee considered 19 claims. Seven claims were denied and three were deferred. The dollar amount being sought for the deferred claims totals $131,400.

    “The issues raised at the most recent meeting included whether to reimburse clients who paid for services and the attorney died before providing any and clients for whom pleas were entered without the client’s knowledge,” says committee chair Lindsey Draper. “Attempting to make the clients whole allows the committee, on behalf of all of the attorneys in the Bar, to help restore faith in the integrity of our profession.”

    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 on March 15, 2012.

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