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Associate Appears to Have Kept Criminal Charges Secret from New Firm

Posted Jun 2, 2010 11:37 AM CDT
By Rachel M. Zahorsky

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Last Friday, plaintiffs law firm Villari Brandes & Kline, which had recently hired an associate from the plaintiffs boutique located a few floors above it, received a shocking phone call about its newest lawyer.

The Lehigh County, Pa., district attorney's office had charged Robert N. Wilkey with three counts of first degree misdemeanor identity theft, alleging that Wilkey used a client's personal information to apply for three credit cards, the Legal Intelligencer reports.

The caller, an Intelligencer reporter, apparently broke the news to co-founding partner Peter M. Villari. The firm released a statement that afternoon.

"Per your request for a statement ... please be advised this matter was just brought to our attention today," the release said. "We have been assured that none of Mr. Wilkey's alleged conduct occurred during his employment with our firm. As to Mr. Wilkey, we are presently handling this matter internally and have no further comment."

Wilkey, when reached by the Intelligencer, deferred comment to his lawyer, Kimberly F. Makoul of Goodge & Makoul in Allentown, Pa., who could not be reached.

Wilkey’s former firm, Pogust Braslow & Millrood, had fired him about a year ago after being contacted by an Upper Saucon police officer regarding the criminal investigation. Wilkey was subsequently hired at Villari Brandes & Kline.

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