White-Collar Crime

Disbarred Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Extortion Attempt, UPL Re Emails to Tenant in Ex-NFL Player's Home

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A disbarred California lawyer who has repeatedly been accused of helping clients break into their foreclosed homes has taken a plea deal in another real estate-related case that will keep him out of prison.

Michael T. Pines pleaded guilty to extortion, unauthorized practice of law and trespassing and was given a suspended three-year prison term and three years of probation, with conditions, according to the Associated Press and the North County Times.

At issue was the home of former NFL player Robert Otis Griffith, whose Rancho Santa Fe house was put into a trustee’s hands after he declared bankruptcy. Pines was accused of sending emails demanding more than $1 million from a couple who were leasing the home.

He is one of two lawyers named Michael Pines in San Diego County. The other lawyer, who has an office is in La Jolla, has no relationship to the criminal case against Michael T. Pines.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Suspended Attorney Is Criminally Charged, Along with Elderly Client, in Another Foreclosed Home Case”

San Diego Reader: “Attorney “Relieved” from Messy Case w Disbarred Attorney”

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