- Accused of Stealing from Clients, Attorney Never Returned, and His Fate Is Still Unlearned
Accused of Stealing from Clients, Attorney Never Returned, and His Fate Is Still Unlearned
Posted Mar 22, 2010 5:29 PM CST
By Martha Neil
After 40 years of marriage, the wife of attorney Allen Schwartz thought she knew her husband. So she was stunned when he came home one summer day in 2001 and told her he was in trouble and would be leaving her permanently.
Over 70 at that time, the Ohio practitioner would be nearly 80 today if he is still alive, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. But seemingly no one knows where Schwartz is—as he said he would, he departed his home, never to surface again.
The reason for his abrupt exit soon became clear. As far back as the 1960s, Schwartz had allegedly been illegally tapping into client funds in probate matters, according to materials found in his files and a letter to a colleague in which he admitted stealing thousands of dollars. But in one 1967 case alone some $1 million may have been misused, the newspaper recounts. The hardworking, personable attorney allegedly stole from the estates of friends and clients who trusted him, charming them into a false sense of security as he oversaw large amounts of money without properly accounting for assets.
Charged by Hamilton County prosecutors with stealing more than $300,000, he had his law license revoked after he departed. Eventually, the Ohio Clients' Security Fund provided a total of $374,000 in theft compensation to nine former clients.
Investigators haven't been able to trace him, and his wife—who Schwartz said knew nothing about his misdeeds—eventually divorced him and adjusted as best she could to a life far different than the retirement she had anticipated with him, the newspaper reports.
"It was extremely difficult for me, and I guess for him, too," she says. "It took me a long time to get over it, the shock of it."