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Lawyer sentenced for theft, corrupt business practice

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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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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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