Criminal Justice

Must clients pay ex-lawyer attorney fees? Judge's decision could affect sentence in theft case


A disbarred Texas personal injury lawyer pleaded guilty to stealing from three former clients.

But Thomas Corea is effectively on trial this week concerning claimed thefts from other clients, too, as State District Judge Mike Snipes decides what his sentence should be, the Dallas Morning News reports.

More than 40 former clients have filed claims with the state bar, according to attorney Maureen Ray of its office of chief disciplinary counsel. The amount Corea is determined to have stolen could range from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions, the newspaper says, and his sentence could range from probation (he is a first-time offender) to life in prison.

Also at issue is whether Corea is entitled to attorney fees, the newspaper notes. Ray testified that a lawyer who steals from clients forfeits legal fees.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Dallas Lawyer Charged with Identity Theft, Stealing $200K From Client Trust Accounts”

ABAJournal.com: “Disbarred PI Attorney Is Jailed After Reportedly Trashing Law Office From Which He Was Being Evicted”

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