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After Pleading Guilty in $346K Client Theft, Lawyer Must Keep Practicing to Make Restitution

Posted Apr 2, 2010 6:46 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A longtime Utah lawyer has pleaded guilty to a felony count of theft concerning $346,248 he allegedly stole from a client, according to the Park Record.

But in order to make restitution, Gary William Nielsen, 66, will need to keep practicing, his lawyer says.

"I would expect that he would be allowed to practice for the foreseeable future but I am certain that our bar association will take some action at some point, especially since it involves the practice of law," attorney Greg Skordas told the newspaper today. "That's a two-edge sword because if they take his bar license away then he is going to have a hard time making restitution."

According to Summit County Attorney David Brickey and court filings, Nielsen's client, Creekside Funding, lost $346,248 of the $560,000 it placed in a trust account held by Nielsen after he withdrew the money, in some 30 transactions ranging from $5,000 to $30,000, for his own benefit. He reportedly spent some of it funding his law practice operations and on home remodeling.

Nielsen faces a maximum prison term of 15 years when he is sentenced in June.

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