Sunday, December 16, 2012

Referral From Bay State High Court's Attorney Ripoff Reimbursement Fund Leads To Indictments For Now-Twice Disbarred Attorney Accused Of Ripping Off Client Cash Intended For Mortgage Loan Payoffs

From the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General:

  • A former Tewksbury attorney has been arraigned in connection with stealing more than $400,000 from multiple clients, one of whom is disabled, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced []. The defendant allegedly stole money which had been entrusted to him by clients seeking help to pay off mortgages or as part of the probate of an estate.

    Raymond Paczkowski, Jr., age 77, of Tewksbury, was arraigned [] in Middlesex Superior Court on one count of Larceny over $250 from a Disabled Person and seven counts of Larceny over $250 (7 counts). At the arraignment, Paczkowski pleaded not guilty and was released on personal recognizance, with the condition that he have no contact with the victims.

    In 2010, the AG’s Office began an investigation after the matter was referred from the Tewksbury Police Department and the Massachusetts Clients' Security Board of the Supreme Judicial Court, which manages a fund that is supported, in part, by annual fees paid by members of the bar.

    The Clients’ Security Board distributes fund money to members of the public who have sustained a financial loss caused by the dishonest conduct of a member of the bar acting as an attorney or a fiduciary.(1)

    Paczkowski worked as an attorney specializing in conveyancing and probate work, and also did some work with insurance claims and litigation. In 2008, authorities allege that Paczkowski began stealing from several of his clients.

    According to investigators, Paczkowski received $75,000 in 2008 from a disabled client in order to pay off a mortgage on her home. Several months later, however, the client received a letter indicting that the loan was still outstanding. It is alleged that Paczkowski never gave the money to the lender and instead stole it for his personal use.

    Authorities further allege that Paczkowski took money from several other clients who had sought help in paying off their mortgages. In one case, a client gave Paczkowski $175,000, with the intent that Paczkowski immediately use those funds to pay off the existing mortgage on his property. The client, however, continued to receive monthly mortgage statements and it is alleged that Paczkowski stole the money instead of paying off the clients’ mortgage.

    In other instances, Paczkowski allegedly stole money from clients who had hired him to assist with the handling or disposing of estate property after experiencing a death in the family.

    In one case, a client who assumed the full title to his mother’s property after she passed sought Paczkowski’s assistance in paying off a mortgage in order to refinance. The client’s mother owed roughly $109,000 to the company that held a mortgage on the property and Paczkowski allegedly received $158,100 from a new lender. According to investigators, Paczkowski forwarded the proceeds to the client, but failed to pay off the original mortgage company. Authorities allege that the client realized the theft when he received multiple late notices on his mother’s mortgage statement.
  • On November 24, 2010 Paczkowski was disbarred, after having been administratively suspended that October. Paczkowski had previously been disbarred in August 1985 for conduct similar to the present allegations.
For the Massachusetts AG press release, see Former Tewksbury Attorney Arraigned in Connection with Stealing More Than $400,000 from Clients (Defendant Allegedly Stole Money Entrusted to Him by Clients for His Personal Use; Also Allegedly Stole from Disabled Client).

(1) For similar "attorney ripoff reimbursement funds" established to reimburse clients who have suffered a loss due to the dishonest conduct of attorneys in other states and Canada, see:

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