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Lawyer sentenced for theft, corrupt business practice

May 16, 2011

A northeast Indiana attorney who pleaded guilty to stealing from his clients has been sentenced to 11 years in prison, with five and one-half of those years suspended to active probation.

Daniel E. Serban pleaded guilty in April to one count of felony theft and one count of corrupt business practice in Allen Superior Court in April. The Roanoke attorney was charged in September with failing to distribute money that had been paid into his law office’s trust account totaling $283,000. The Indiana Supreme Court suspended him in March.

Tim McCaulay, deputy prosecutor with the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office, said Serban received eight years on the corrupt business practice charge and three years on the theft charge to be served consecutively. Half of that sentence will be served on probation.

In addition to the five and one-half years Serban will serve in prison, he’s also been ordered to pay the $283,000 in full as restitution. A hearing is set for Friday related to the restitution order.

McCaulay said at the May 13 sentencing hearing it was discovered that Serban had recently sold his interest in a real estate partnership, and his wife had $60,000 in checks written from Serban’s attorney’s trust account in her purse as she sat in the courtroom. Those checks were given to the bailiff, who gave them to Serban’s attorney, Don Swanson, to hold until the May 20 hearing.

That hearing is to determine whether that money can be used toward the restitution order. McCaulay said Serban could have his probation period reduced if he pays the restitution order in full.

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