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Ex-Chair of Prominent Maine Firm Gets 2 Years in Tax Case

Posted Sep 5, 2008 5:33 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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"There was no extortion. No lavish vacations. No gambling debts. No drug addiction. Instead, a former partner in a major Maine law firm stole more than $300,000 simply because he felt he needed greater savings, his lawyer said."

That's how an Associated Press article leads into yesterday's sentencing of once-prominent attorney John Duncan to more than two years in federal prison for tax evasion. Duncan, who is now 54, was permanently disbarred in July.

After Verrill Dana "severed its relationship" with the 29-year attorney last year, Duncan—who is a former chairman of the firm's executive board—pleaded guilty in state court to two counts of felony theft. They concerned approximately $300,000 that he allegedly stole from the firm and its clients between 1997 and 2007. Duncan is scheduled to be sentenced later this month in the Cumberland County Superior Court felony theft case.

He has also been accused of overbilling clients an additional $100,000 or so.

"During the years of theft and embezzlement, Duncan was earning an average of $269,000 a year and his family had assets of more than $1 million," the AP article states.

His lawyer, Toby Dilworth, said Duncan had an "irrational" desire to save more, to provide his family with greater financial security.

Additional coverage:

Mainebiz News: "Ex-Verrill Dana partner gets jail time"

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