Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ex-Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Stealing From Clients

Facing a trial in which prosecutors vowed to show that her clients' money paid for steak dinners, happy hours and resort vacations, disbarred attorney Jessica Miller avoided the spectacle and pleaded guilty to grand theft charges that could send her to prison.

The plea, which came with no sentencing deal with prosecutors, capped a three-year legal scandal that began with complaints from clients of her Port Richey law firm who said she took their money but did no work. In August 2007, after missing three months of guardianship hearings, she went to jail for 43 days for contempt of court.

The Florida Bar investigated and ultimately kicked her out.

Then came the criminal charges.

Miller, 32, pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of second-degree grand theft and two counts of third-degree grand theft. She is accused of taking about $3,900 for legal services she never provided, as well as funneling some $65,000 from the trust funds of two divorce clients into her firm's operating account.

The day she learns her fate is April 6, when she will be sentenced by Circuit Judge Michael Andrews.

Full Article and Source:
Pasco: Ex-Attorney Pleads Guilty to Stealing From Clients


Betty said...

Jessica Miller probably thinks if she pleads guilty, some of what she did won't be made public.

StandUp said...

In 2007, she missed 3 months of guardianship hearings and went to jail for 43 days for contempt. Did the judge also remove her from those cases?

Brian said...

She should be forced to pay resitution to all those she stole from.

Connie said...

I wonder how many complaints it took to get the FL bar to sit up and take notice.

Lou said...

Can't imagine all that planning and expense to have a career as an attorney then give it all up to be a thief.
The "Sunshine State" appears to have a lot of that in their judicial system. I've heard of repeateded abuse, neglect and exploitation to the vulnerable senior citizens in "Florida" by Court Appointed Guardians, Fiduciaries, Attorneys and Judges among others as well. Seniors beware!

Anonymous said...

This is only a few miles away from me. Since the courts and attorney will not disclose any of their spending of my companion's money, who knows what THEY are spending it on?? In fact, it could be said that the court appointed attorney for the ward never did a thing for him. And, of course, the guardian and her attorney, do not have the ward's interest at heart, only their own income. But how can anyone find out if there is any fraud if they won't let the closest one to the ward know how and where the money is spent?