Bad Lawyers

Robert Graham Disbarred after Admitting to Theft of Over $16 Million in Client Funds
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Robert Graham

Summary: After being convicted of multiple felony charges related to the theft of nearly $17 million in client funds, Robert Graham has been disbarred.

A longtime Las Vegas estate lawyer has been disbarred by the Nevada Supreme Court after admitting to the theft of his clients’ money. Robert Graham was permanently disbarred in a four-page order filed Monday where all seven Supreme Court justices agreed on the disciplinary action.

  
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Graham has been ordered to pay restitution plus a $1 million fine with all the money going back to his former clients. They wrote, “Because the amount of misappropriated client funds is staggering and Graham exploited vulnerable people, disbarment is the only appropriate discipline.”

He is currently in custody at the Clark County Detention Center after pleading guilty to five felony counts last week in District Court. The charges included theft and exploitation of vulnerable people. He admitted to stealing over $16 million from his clients. He is now facing 16 to 40 years with the sentencing hearing set for January 11.

A prosecutor with the State Bar of Nevada during a disciplinary hearing in March recommended disbarment since his thefts were topping out at $17 million during the past ten years. The Supreme Court agreed with the case the State Bar presented. The order stated, “The record therefore establishes that Graham violated the … rules by misappropriating approximately $17 million in client funds, failing to diligently disburse funds owed to clients, failing to respond to clients’ requests for information regarding their funds, lying to the court and others regarding the location and status of client funds and abandoning his law practice.”

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The justices were especially shocked over his lack of remorse for what he had done, noting his selfish motives, refusal to acknowledge his wrongful actions, and lack of desire to make amends. The county grand jury had no problem indicting the 52-year-old for the thefts.

Report show he was moving around $187,000 a month of client funds into a special bank account used to run his law firm and pay personal bills. He used $244,000 to pay his taxes and $700,000 a year for his advertising efforts. He also used the money to make charitable donations to the Boys Town of Nevada and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.



Spokesman Eric Hawkins for the church said, “The Church does not seek to profit from ill-gotten gains. When the Church is asked to return tithing funds or other donations, there’s an existing, careful process for doing this. In this case, the Church has cooperated fully with a subpoena for records of the donations made.” The church stated they will return any donations that were obtained fraudulently.

Graham had abruptly shut down his law office on December 2. The State Bar quickly stepped in to take control of his cases. Several former clients had filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition against his firm, seeking the remaining assets. However, there is little chance of the clients ever receiving the missing funds. U.S. Bankruptcy Court documents reveal that his firm, Lawyers West, listed only $438,000 in assets and $8.7 million in liabilities.  Most of the assets were unpaid legal fees that are unlikely to be collected.

What do you think should happen for people like Graham that fraudulently stole money from others help make restitution? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

To learn more about disbarred attorneys in Las Vegas, read these articles:

Photo: ktnv.com



 

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