White-Collar Crime

Former Spector Gadon associate admits to $500K client theft, pleads guilty to wire fraud

A former associate of Spector Gadon & Rosen pleaded guilty Monday to one count of wire fraud in federal court in Philadelphia, admitting that he had stolen a total of more than $500,000 from four of the firm’s clients.

Gomer Thomas Williams III, 54, resigned from the state bar in 2012. He worked in the trusts and estates department of the firm’s Philadelphia office and had check-writing authority over the two trusts and two estates at issue in the case, according to the Associated Press and the Legal Intelligencer (sub. req.). An earlier Legal Intelligencer (sub. req.) article provides additional details.

In addition to stealing funds from law firm clients, Williams also overbilled for his work, according to prosecutors. The money, which allegedly was stolen between 2007 and 2012, went to pay his personal debts and expenses, including mortgage bills.

Williams self-reported the theft to both his law firm and federal authorities and is expected to be sentenced in June to no more than 41 months in prison.

Partner Paul Rosen of Spector Gadon said he was personally devastated when Williams and the associate’s attorney came into Rosen’s office and told him of the theft in the summer of 2012. Williams was immediately removed from the firm and clients were fully reimbursed by Spector Gadon, Rosen told the Legal Intelligencer earlier this year.

“There were no repercussions by any of the clients because all of the clients that had any issues in his matters were resolved amicably through the payments by our firm.”

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Louis D. Lappen told U.S. District Judge Legrome D. Davis at the Monday hearing that Spector Gadon cooperated with his office in determining the extent of the overbilling by Williams, the Intelligencer reports.

William J. Winning of Cozen O’Connor represented Williams in the case.

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