White-Collar Crime

Trial Lawyer Takes Plea, Gets 5-Year Probation in Alleged $1M Law Firm Theft From 49 Clients

An Oklahoma trial attorney accused of helping his former law partner embezzle approximately $1 million from 49 clients pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy to commit a felony.

In exchange for the plea, 13 other charges against Fred Schraeder, 61, were dropped, and adjudication was deferred, according to the World. The Tulsa practitioner has agreed to surrender his law license and not seek reinstatement during the five years he is on probation.

If he successfully completes his probation and pays restitution of a little over $36,000 to five victims, his record will be expunged. A court document says the government recommended the settlement because of Schraeder’s “level of culpability.”

His former law partner, William Anton, who also is 61, pleaded guilty earlier to four felonies, including embezzlement, in the Tulsa County District Court case. He got 10 years, followed by 25 years of probation, and he is required to pay restitution of not quite $703,000. He gave up his license in 2007.

The two partners had both been accused of a role in a seven-figure embezzlement of personal injury and workers’ compensation settlements between 2004 and 2009.

In a written statement yesterday, Schraeder said “any culpability that I may or may not have arises as a result of my position as a co-conspirator,” indicating that he had not himself “actually embezzled any money.”

Hat tip: Scripps Media.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “2 Lawyers Charged in Claimed $1.1M Client Embezzlement Scheme”

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