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White-Collar Crime

Theft Trial of Ex-Quarles & Brady Partner Begins re $370K in Checks From Elderly Client

Posted Dec 13, 2011 9:30 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A former partner of Quarles & Brady is on trial for theft, accused of accepting $370,000 in checks from an elderly client in 2003 and 2004 who was not competent to handle her own financial affairs.

Jeffrey Elverman, 52, would have had to be working 30 hours per week for Dorothy Phinney at his $150 hourly rate to justify that amount in fees, Assistant District Attorney David Feiss told a Milwaukee County Circuit Court jury, reports the Journal Sentinel. He spent about an hour a week with her, according to a caregiver's records.

However, Elverman's lawyer, Daniel Drigot, said Phinney, who is now 94 and suffers from dementia, was keenly interested in her own financial affairs and able to make her own decisions at the time in question, according to the newspaper.

"This case is about Dorothy Phinney's ability to consent," he told the jury in his opening statement. "It's not about whether she was too generous or Mr. Elverman was too greedy."

In a separate civil suit, which seeks treble damages and attorney's fees from the law firm and Elverman, Phinney's guardian contends that he stole $600,000 from her.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com (April 2008): "Ex-Quarles Partner Suspended For Not Reading Partnership Fine Print"

ABAJournal.com (April 2009): "Suit Claims Ex-Quarles Partner Stole $600K; Firm Says Its Hands Were Tied"

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