Thomas P. Puccio used to handle white-collar crime cases. Now he faces federal conspiracy charges along with his former client.
A federal grand jury says the pair plotted to steal a client's Range Rover SUV after Mr. Puccio decided against handling the man's divorce case, which could have yielded him up to $10 million in legal fees. Mr. Puccio then sent an associate who had never handled a criminal case to court on behalf of his client, who was facing drug and weapons charges, according to the indictment. When their scheme failed, prosecutors say Mr. Puccio forged a judge's signature on a court order to dismiss the charges.
Mr. Puccio, who is free on bail while his case is pending, declined to comment through an attorney. But in 2002 court filings in another client's case he described how he had helped a man facing drug and weapons charges by having a friend appointed as "standby counsel," who went to court without ever meeting the defendant. He also said he never talked about fees with clients charged with federal crimes because it would give the government leverage to pressure them into becoming informants—which Mr. Puccio called "tantamount to selling out friends."
Washington Post (via Law.Com)
Here are some ways by which Lawyer Gets Rid of Client, Keeps the Car:
· I know there are lawyers out there that do this sort of thing, but it just seems wrong that a lawyer would steal from his client. This has to be one of the most bizarre crimes I have ever heard of, next to the priest accused of stealing communion wine.
· I have had my car stolen before by someone who worked at Enterprise Car Rental in Nashville, TN. After returning the car late after enjoying myself too much eating barbecue and drinking Tennessee whiskey at Jack's Barbecue Lodge, I was shocked when they said they could not return my vehicle because it had been stolen during business hours. They told me if I wanted another rental vehicle I couldn't get one until Monday morning so I ended up looking for a good local hotel with shuttle service. The only decent place nearby was well over $100 a night and I was not interested in paying that much. It took me almost two months before I got my money back from Enterprise.
· I don't know what they were thinking, but apparently neither people were very good at planning their crimes. For one thing, stealing a client's Range Rover? Really? That's like taking candy from a baby and expecting them not to tell anyone. Or maybe it is more like holding up the local convenience store and forgetting you still have your wallet on you with all your personal information written inside.
· The fact that Puccio sent his associate to court without ever having met the defendant seems fairly stupid as well. If you are going to go through all that extra work just to steal a vehicle then why would you leave something like that open to exposure? Why make it so complicated for little gain?
· I don't know, maybe I am missing something here. Maybe this is all some sort of drug-induced nightmare and my car will be waiting for me in my parking space when I wake up tomorrow morning. If not then these guys are definitely on the list of dumb criminals. Always remember they may outsmart you but never underestimate them.
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