Posted Aug 29, 2014 12:02 pm CDT
A California lawyer has been charged with financial elder abuse, grand theft and securities fraud for allegedly persuading a client to invest in his cat litter box invention.
The lawyer, 63-year-old Delbert Joe Modlin of Sacramento, was arrested on Tuesday, the Sacramento Bee reports. The charges stem from representation of a 90-year-old man and his 66-year-old daughter who sought help with an estate plan.
Prosecutors claimed in an arrest warrant that Modlin persuaded the elderly man to liquidate his investments and promised the man’s daughter she would double her investment in four years if she invested in the litter box, the story reports.
According to prosecutors, Modlin failed to disclose that he was awaiting trial on felony charges in connection with his handling of an elderly couple’s property, he had a gambling problem, and he had twice filed for bankruptcy. Modlin obscured negative Internet information about himself, prosecutors say, by hiring a company to “manipulate search engines.”
Charges in the earlier case are still pending, the Sacramento Bee says. His bond in the new case was reduced to $100,000 in exchange for an agreement to stop practicing law until he is tried.
Modlin says on one of his websites that he “has been practicing law for over two decades, championing the elderly and ensuring they are not taken advantage of.”
Modlin’s lawyer, Michael Farley, told the newspaper that lawyers who represent the elderly or people with mental health problems can be unfairly accused. “I plan to investigate all the evidence, get to the bottom of what happened and give everyone their day in court,” he said.