Legal Ethics

Lawyer Reportedly Probed in Alleged Ponzi Scheme After His Son, a Judge, Reports His Suspicions

A prominent lawyer in Pennsylvania is reportedly under investigation for running an alleged Ponzi scheme that victimized possibly dozens of people after his son, a Luzerne County judge, told authorities of his concerns.

The lawyer, 77-year-old Anthony Lupas Jr., resigned his position as solicitor for the Wilkes-Barre Area School District last month, citing health problems, report the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader and the Citizens Voice. Lupas’ son, Luzerne County Judge David Lupas, released a statement saying he requested a probe last year.

“In the fall of 2011, my father sustained very serious physical injuries resulting from a fall,” Judge Lupas said in the statement. “Soon after his accident, I came to learn of circumstances involving him which I believed warranted an investigation. Accordingly, I reported this matter to the proper authorities and requested an investigation.”

Two lawyers for alleged victims are planning to file lawsuits, the stories say. Lawyer Gavin Lentz of Philadelphia says he represents six people who lost $1.2 million, while lawyer Ernest Preate Jr. of Scranton says he represents three people who lost about $500,000, according to the Times Leader.

The lawyers told the publications of criminal investigations. An anonymous law enforcement source interviewed by the Times Leader confirmed probes by the U.S. Attorney’s office, the state Attorney General’s office, and lawyer ethics authorities. Anonymous sources familiar with state and federal investigations also provided confirmation to the Citizens Voice.

Preate told the Citizens Voice, which broke news of the probe on Sunday, that dozens of Anthony Lupas’ clients and friends may have been duped. “The whole thing began to unravel when he had the fall and was unable to get in new money to replace the money he was paying out monthly to various parties,” Preate said.

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