South Jersey elder law attorney Barbara Lieberman reportedly plead guilty today to stealing millions of dollars from her clients.
According to the American Bar Association: “Prosecutors said Lieberman… used fake powers of attorney… to steal from clients who often had no close family members to intervene. All told, victims were bilked of millions between 2006 and 2013, the government contended… Lieberman put her name on client bank accounts, wrote checks for her own personal expenses, transferred assets into her law firm’s accounts, helped clients draft wills and then stole more while serving as executrix… according to the attorney general’s office.”
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer: “Lieberman paid off six-figure credit-card bills, while Van Holt bought a Florida condominium and two Mercedes-Benzes, authorities said.”
Lieberman will reportedly forfeit $3 million, her law license and a BMW, and faces up to ten years in prison.
FriedmanLaw has no independent knowledge of the facts surrounding this case, but if the government’s allegations are true, then this is a very sad situation.
As elder law attorneys, our job is to protect some of society’s most vulnerable members. Our clients put their trust in us. We work hard to deserve the trust of seniors and people with disabilities, who rely on our help. When one lawyer takes advantage of clients’ trust, it affects us all.
Lawrence Friedman was invited to give a presentation on elder law ethics to New Jersey’s Office of Attorney Ethics, the state agency charged with regulating the legal profession. We hope that our contribution will help the state ensure that this doesn’t happen again.