Bad Lawyers

Venice Attorney Adam Miller Accused of Stealing from Clients Just like His Father Was
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Adam Miller

Summary: The apple does not fall far from the tree for this Venice, Florida elder law attorney accused of stealing from clients.

A Venice attorney accused of embezzling over $700,000 from elderly clients received a reduced bond. The Sarasota County circuit judge ordered the reduction for Adam R. Miller’s bond down to $407,500. The bond had been set at $1.7 million. Miller, 38, is accused of stealing money from his elderly clients’ trust accounts after their deaths.

  
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Circuit Judge Charles E. Roberts heard the arguments in Monday’s hearing. Miller’s attorney, Robert Harrison explained that his client had no prior criminal acts, posed no threat to the community and had no reason to flee as reasons for a lower bond. Harrison also stated that Miller was unable to make bond because his assets had been frozen after the investigation by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.

Miller is charged with one count scheme to defraud between $20,000 and $40,000, one count of exploitation of the elderly over $50,000, and two counts of scheme to defraud over $50,000. These are second- and first-degree felonies. Prosecutors claim that the total losses from the victims add up to $1.3 million so the bond was set to a “more than reasonable amount, based on the crime and amount of money allegedly stolen.”

According to the investigation by the Sheriff’s office, Miller had been hired by George and Eileen Johnston as their trustee and power of attorney three years ago in August 2013. He was to control their six financial accounts. After their deaths, Miller started writing and depositing high-dollar checks to himself and his law firm from those accounts. The amounts were beyond normal for attorney fees. Financial records indicate he received around $130,000 from their Englewood Bank account between July 2014 and February 2015 when George died. He also received $24,500 from a Fifth Third Bank between November 2014 and November 2015.

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Once the Johnston’s home was sold in March of 2015, Miller opened an account at Englewood Bank and Trust. There he deposited a $264,389.37 check under the account “George and Eileen Johnston Trust.” His account then received a $231,000 from an Englewood bank account between November 2015 and March 2016.

Miller paid the couple’s beneficiaries $25,500. However, none of his personal of business accounts show record of the funds being disbursed to the beneficiaries.



The Sheriff’s office investigation also turned up two additional deceased victims that Miller allegedly victimized upon their deaths. They believe there may be up to 20 more victims with $550,000 still unaccounted for.

Miller is an estate planning attorney. He has been licensed to practice in Florida for 12 years. He has mostly good reviews from clients that have posted on Avvo. He was once elected as a member of the Sarasota County Charter Review Board in 2006 and stayed on the board until 2014 when his term ended.

Miller charges are similar to his father’s, a disbarred Venice attorney found guilty in 2011. His father served four years in prison for stealing $941,000 from the estate of Holocaust survivor Beila Millet. He is now on probation until he can pay back the money. Her money was supposed to go to Israeli schools, hospitals, and veterans’ groups. Only $122,000 was ever disbursed.

Would you trust an attorney that has a father guilty of stealing from a client? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about Florida attorneys that can’t keep themselves from dipping into their clients’ accounts, read these articles:

Photo: mysuncoast.com



 

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