Legal Ethics

Partner Accused of Stealing from Firm to Plead Guilty Today

A former partner at a Maine law firm who was accused of stealing more than $300,000 from his law firm and clients is expected to plead guilty to felony theft.

John Duncan, who had worked at Verrill Dana in Portland for 29 years, is expected to enter a plea today, the Portland Press Herald reports. He handled wills, trusts and estates for the firm and was active in his church and civic organizations.

An audit found that Duncan embezzled from the firm and clients during a 10-year period, the story says. He is accused of embezzling $196,000 from the firm and stealing $109,000 from clients. His firm also claims he overbilled clients more than $100,000, but that allegation is not included in the charges.

In the fallout from the revelations, the managing partner of Verrill Dana has resigned his post. The firm has reached a settlement with a secretary who first brought the allegations to light with a report that Duncan had written checks to himself from the account of an elderly client. At the time, partners in the firm thought it was an isolated incident.

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