Friday, September 18, 2009

Former Dallas Judge Gets Jail

A former Dallas municipal judge will serve 60 days in the Tarrant County Jail as a condition of her probation for spending money awarded to a client in a 2003 probate case that she handled while practicing law in Arlington.

A jury had already been seated in Criminal District Court No. 3 when Tiffany Lewis pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to misapplication of fiduciary property. Lewis used a $58,000 probate settlement awarded to a Dallas woman and her daughter to buy a motorcycle for her baby’s father, cover office expenses, and cover bad checks in other clients’ accounts, Tarrant County prosecutor Lori Varnell said.

Lewis, 41, was sentenced to 10 years’ probation by visiting Judge David Cleveland, who ordered her to serve 60 days in jail and repay the money.

Lewis, who was disbarred in 2005, was also forbidden to hold herself out as an attorney or to act as a fiduciary, someone who handles money for other people.

The Texas Bar Association had stripped Lewis of her license to practice law in April 2005 because of the probate case. But Tarrant County prosecutors learned that she was continuing to represent clients in Tarrant County, Varnell said.

Her disbarment was based on a Dallas woman’s 2004 complaint to the bar that the attorney had taken $58,000 of her Dallas County probate settlement.

Lewis took most of the money in cash, which could not be traced, Varnell said. It took nearly five years for a forensic accountant to track the money from the probate account to Lewis’ Bedford bank to her expenditures, which depleted the account in 134 days, Varnell said.

Varnell said she and co-counsel Sabrina Sabin were prepared to try the case but accepted the plea to get restitution for the victims. "They’re very poor people who don’t have a lot of means," Varnell said. "She stole from the weakest members of our society."

Randall said Lewis, who is a single mother, took the last-minute plea to ensure that she would remain free to raise her daughter. She will serve her 60-day jail term on weekends and, as required by probation rules, seek a job, he said.

"She does have restitution to pay back, and she will be doing that," Randall said.

Full Article and Source:
Former Dallas Judge Gets Jail Time for Spending Woman's Probate Money


StandUp said...

10 years was the proper sentence for Tiffany Lewis.

Not 10 years probation.

10 years hard time.

Anonymous said...

Just 60 days actual jail time?

That's not much more than vacation time away from home.

Anonymous said...

Look at how slow the wheels of "justice" are. This happned in 2003 -- she was disbarred in 2005 and just now she's received her sentence.

Mike said...

I think the jury gave a proper punishment. 10 years and paying back all the money.

It's the probation that doesn't sit well with me.

Anonymous said...

Repaying the money should mean repaying it with interest!

Watching said...

Judges take care of their own.

Anonymous said...

Ha, what she got was a light slap on the wrist!

Anonymous said...

Funny how the "important" people never get the same punishment that the rest of us would get in the same situation.

Anonymous said...

To buy her boyfriend a motorcycle...

Having to pay it back probably made her attack the person she stole it from in the first place twice as hard. That or just steal it from someone else she & her boyfriend could defraud.

What did she do as a judge between '03 and '05? Let off a few folks so they'd do her bidding for her?