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Indy attorney gets 6 years for estate theft

June 19, 2013

An Indianapolis attorney who faced felony charges for stealing more than $270,000 from an estate he managed pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six years, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office announced Tuesday.

David Rees, 73, pleaded guilty as charged to one count of Class C felony theft and one count of Class D felony obstruction of justice. The prosecutor’s office brought the charges in March. Rees agreed to plead guilty at that time.

Rees drafted the will and was executor for his client Benjamin Roberts. Eight years after Roberts’ death, nearly $400,000 was missing from the estate, according to the probable cause affidavit. Rees acknowledged diverting nearly $271,000 to his personal account.

He will serve four years on home detention, followed by two years of probation. He faced a maximum sentence of eight years.

The obstruction of justice charge stems from a fraudulent final accounting filing in the estate, which indicated the missing money was still in the estate.

“Mr. Rees abused the position of trust he was given by the Roberts family, stealing from the very account he was obligated to protect,” Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said. “As attorneys, we are bound by our oath to support the rule of law in every respect. We will accordingly vigorously prosecute those attorneys who have not only failed to uphold that standard, but have engaged in criminal conduct.”

Rees also must pay $270,000 in restitution.

Rees, who was admitted to practice in 1965, resigned from the bar in January.

 

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