Saturday, August 11, 2012

Disbarred Attorney Found Guilty Of $186K+ Ripoff From Elderly Clients

From the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General:

  • A former Greenfield attorney has been convicted in connection with stealing more than $186,000 from an elderly couple he represented in a personal injury settlement case, Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office announced [].

    After a three day trial, a Franklin Superior Court jury found defendant Edward Pepyne, Jr., age 59, of South Deerfield, guilty of the charge of Larceny over $250 of a Person Over Sixty Years of Age. Pepyne will be sentenced by Superior Court Judge John A. Agostini at a hearing on June 29.
  • In 2006, authorities believe Pepyne targeted an elderly husband and wife that had been in a serious automobile accident and offered to represent them in their personal injury claim. Investigators discovered that Pepyne and the elderly husband had known each other prior to the accident, and Pepyne used this relationship to offer his services as an attorney.

    Pepyne entered into an agreement that allowed him to keep one third of the funds he recovered for his clients in the personal injury claim. Pepyne settled his clients’ case prior to litigation and he eventually deposited the settlement funds into his business account he had at a local bank.

    Investigation revealed that instead of giving his clients the settlement proceeds they were owed, Pepyne lied to the couple and told them that he had to keep more than one third of the money he recovered on their behalf to pay for outstanding medical expenses.

    Investigators discovered that in reality no outstanding medical expenses existed. As a result of his scheme, Pepyne withheld more than $186,000 from his elderly clients and used those stolen funds for his personal use. Pepyne was later disbarred from practicing law in February 2010 after his activities were reported to the Office of Bar Counsel.(1)

(1) The Massachusetts Clients' Security Board of the Supreme Judicial Court manages and distributes monies in their recovery fund to members of the public who have sustained a financial loss caused by the dishonest conduct of a member of the Massachusetts bar acting as an attorney or a fiduciary. Go here for Case Summaries for Claims Decided by the Massachusetts Clients' Security Board of the Supreme Judicial Court (ie. results of claims filed by allegedly screwed over clients).

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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