- Wis. Lawyer Accused of Stealing $542K in Foreclosure Refunds by Filing Court Docs for Non-Clients
Trials & Litigation
Wis. Lawyer Accused of Stealing $542K in Foreclosure Refunds by Filing Court Docs for Non-Clients
Posted Aug 24, 2011 12:15 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
A Wisconsin lawyer has been criminally charged with theft of at least $10,000 by fraud for allegedly stealing $542,000 over a five-year period by falsely claiming to represent individuals to whom refunds of surplus funds were due in mortgage foreclosure cases.
Thomas E. Bielinski, 52, allegedly filed documents in Milwaukee Circuit Court on the purported behalf of 47 individuals owed money because the proceeds from the sale of their homes exceeded the amount owed to the lenders who filed suit and their counsel. He collected in 43 of the matters, but four claims, in which he sought $84,000 total, were denied, reports the Proof & Hearsay blog of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
He allegedly had no other law practice, and so fraud was his primary source of income, the article says, relying on information from the criminal complaint.
When Bielinski's home was searched, authorities reportedly found 16 court files and two fake notary seals. An Associated Press article says he is accused of perpetrating the fraud by forging claimants' signatures. Then, after he was paid, he allegedly removed documents from court files to eliminate evidence.
He is a 1985 graduate of Marquette University Law School.