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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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  1. File under the Sociology of Hoosier Discipline ... “We will be answering the complaint in due course and defending against the commission’s allegations,” said Indianapolis attorney Don Lundberg, who’s representing Hudson in her disciplinary case. FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW ... Lundberg ran the statist attorney disciplinary machinery in Indy for decades, and is now the "go to guy" for those who can afford him .... the ultimate insider for the well-to-do and/or connected who find themselves in the crosshairs. It would appear that this former prosecutor knows how the game is played in Circle City ... and is sacrificing accordingly. See more on that here ... http://www.theindianalawyer.com/supreme-court-reprimands-attorney-for-falsifying-hours-worked/PARAMS/article/43757 Legal sociologists could have a field day here ... I wonder why such things are never studied? Is a sacrifice to the well connected former regulators a de facto bribe? Such questions, if probed, could bring about a more just world, a more equal playing field, less Stalinist governance. All of the things that our preambles tell us to value could be advanced if only sunshine reached into such dark worlds. As a great jurist once wrote: "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman." Other People's Money—and How Bankers Use It (1914). Ah, but I am certifiable, according to the Indiana authorities, according to the ISC it can be read, for believing such trite things and for advancing such unwanted thoughts. As a great albeit fictional and broken resistance leaders once wrote: "I am the dead." Winston Smith Let us all be dead to the idea of maintaining a patently unjust legal order.

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