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Chico Attorney Charged with Stealing from his Elderly Clients

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Updated: 6/27/2013 5:11 pm
A North State attorney faces charges of theft from an elderly couple and lying to another client after a joint investigation by the Butte County District Attorney’s Office and the California State Bar.

Alfred W. Driscol III, 65, Chico, was charged with Theft from an Elder and making a False Financial Statement, both felony charges. He appeared in court on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 before a visiting judge in the Butte County Superior Court. Driscol appeared with his counsel, Ned Ng of Sacramento. A plea was not entered and the case was continued to July 30, for entry of a plea and setting of a preliminary hearing.

The charges stem from complaints that Mr. Driscol stole over $80,000 from an elderly couple who had put their money in Driscol’s client trust account. He is also accused of causing another client to loan him money based on a false financial document. District Attorney Mike Ramsey said his office was notified of these cases by the California State Bar. Ramsey said the State Bar has filed disciplinary proceedings against Driscol based on these cases and other matters.

The investigation found Mr. Driscol agreed on October 15, 2008 to keep $100,000.00 in his client trust account for the couple. The couple received some of that original amount back to pay taxes and other expenses, but the remaining $87,514 was never returned. The couple was unaware of the theft until Driscol sent a letter on August 28, 2012 admitting the money was gone and he would not be able to return it. Further investigation also revealed Driscol had induced a separate client to loan him $40,000 which Driscol secured with stock shares in a business Driscol owned. When Driscol defaulted on the loan after paying only $7,000, the client attempted to gain the value of the shares only to find out the security document given to him by Driscol was worthless.

Ramsey said Driscol has practiced law in the local area since 1974. The California State Bar ordered his law license inactive on March 11, 2013 due to their ongoing disciplinary proceedings. Ramsey said Driscol faces over four years imprisonment in the Butte County Jail.

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