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Attorney Charged with Theft After Keeping Client Settlement Check

Donald Mansfield, 71, has been charged with first-degree theft and has had his law license suspended after reportedly stealing the settlement check of a client, according to The News Tribune.

The check was for $21,000 and no arraignment has been scheduled yet for Mansfield. Investigators do not know his whereabouts right now. According to court records, Mansfield closed his law office and his home was foreclosed on in March.

A complaint was filed with the Washington State Bar Association by one of his clients. Tacoma police were also alerted to the theft after the client tried to claim the money from him. The money was awarded in a personal injury case.

The check was deposited into the checking accounting of Mansfield on September 12, 2011 and the attorney promised to send a check to the client within 10 days. The check never arrived.

Emails were sent to his office five times and a certified letter was also sent demanding the money. The client was due to receive $14,000 and $7,000 was to go to Mansfield for his work.

An audit was conducted by the state’s bar association and it found that Mansfield received the check, but did not pay the client. The audit also found that Mansfield moved thousands of dollars from his business account to his private account.

According to the audit, Mansfield “either used or converted the victim’s settlement funds for his own use.”

Mansfield claimed he suffered from “serious and ongoing” health issues, but did not send the auditor medical records. This was his reason for not sending the money to the client.

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