A Kansas City disbarred attorney admitted on April 11 to stealing thousands of dollars from several of his clients. The man, who faces federal charges in connection with the thefts, even took money from a foundation that was designed to build a playground in memory of two deceased children. He had previously been removed from the legal profession, though media reports did not explain his departure from the field. The children went missing in 2004; their father later admitted to killing them.

Authorities report that the man established the account, serving as the sole financial overseer. He refused to allow the children's mother to monitor the financial activity from the account. In 2007, records show that he wrote two checks totaling more than $19,000 from this account, even though the foundation did not approve these expenditures. The attorney was ordered by the victims' mother to return the money. It is not clear whether the funds were ever restored.

Official investigation shows that the man claimed the checks were related to investments he had made. The money was later traced to accounts within the man's law firm.

In addition, the man pleaded guilty to charges that he mismanaged $750,000 in life insurance money after the death of a friend -- the man's wife had entrusted the money to the suspect after her husband's demise. The former attorney reportedly offered to invest the money. After he lost the entire balance, he attempted to convince the woman that the funds were safe. He has been required to pay $340,000 in restitution in connection with the case.

The man's decision to plead guilty may allow him to avoid heavier prison sentences than he would have accrued during a jury trial. A significant amount of evidence ostensibly linked him to the crimes, perhaps pointing toward a guilty plea as the most cost-effective and realistic option. Prosecutors may negotiate for shorter sentencing guidelines and even the dismissal of certain charges as a trade for the admission of guilt.

Source: KSHB, "Former attorney admits stealing thousands from Saam and Lindsey Porter Foundation," Steve Kaut, April 11, 2013.