April 20, 2010 |
Billie Ann Herbert was recuperating from surgery at her Atlantic City home last year when a lawyer went to her with an attractive offer. For $4,500, Avis Cole-Williams promised she would help Herbert's son win child-visitation rights denied during divorce proceedings. At her son's urging, the casino waitress handed the lawyer a check. "What happened next turned my life inside out," Herbert said. Cole-Williams, a troubled lawyer with a history of disciplinary actions, including suspension from practicing law in New Jersey, was arrested on drug charges and Herbert's money was lost - until the New Jersey Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection stepped in. The fund, made up of fees from lawyers, fully reimbursed Herbert and approved $15,400 to other Cole-Williams clients for legal services never rendered.
November 23, 2006 |
A disbarred attorney from Cherry Hill was charged with theft yesterday, accused of taking the proceeds of a client's lawsuit, authorities said. Jaffa F. Stein, 52, was an assistant prosecutor in the mid-1980s with the Camden County Prosecutor's Office. After two years, she left the prosecutor's office in 1986 to become a partner at Cherry Hill's Tomar, O'Brien, Kaplan, Jacoby & Graziano. Most recently she was in private practice in Voorhees. Stein, a personal-injury lawyer, was representing a client in a civil lawsuit.
October 8, 2005 |
A disbarred Camden County lawyer - convicted of stealing $2.7 million from about 40 former clients, including an autistic Audubon man - lost his bid yesterday for a reduction in his 18-year prison sentence. Superior Court Judge Linda G. Baxter in Camden ordered Dennis O'Brien of Haddon Heights to serve the term without the possibility of parole for eight years. Her reaffirmation of the sentence handed down last year came after O'Brien asked the state appellate court in March to reduce his jail time.
July 26, 2005 |
About $2 million has been amassed to help repay the victims of disbarred Camden County lawyer Dennis O'Brien, who stole $2.7 million from 33 former clients, including an autistic Audubon man, authorities said yesterday. The victims have been invited to a restitution hearing Thursday in state Superior Court to comment on the proposed payout. Under the arrangement, each would be compensated for at least 40 percent of his or her losses. About $900,000 of the money is expected to come from O'Brien's liquidated assets after other claims are resolved, according to the Camden County Prosecutor's Office.
February 28, 2005 |
A disbarred Camden County lawyer who was sentenced to 18 years in prison for stealing $2.76 million from clients, including an autistic man, will ask an appeals panel March 8 to reduce his jail time. Dennis O'Brien, who built a practice around a reputation as a churchgoing family man, wants the judges to consider his cooperation in repaying his 39 victims. None of the former clients have yet received money from the liquidation of O'Brien's assets, though more than $750,000 is likely to be amassed by a court-appointed special master for disbursement.
August 21, 2004 |
A disbarred Camden County lawyer who stole $2.76 million from 39 clients, including an autistic Audubon man, was sentenced yesterday to 18 years in prison after apologizing to the victims and asking their forgiveness. Dennis O'Brien, 62, of Station Avenue in Haddon Heights, must serve eight years before he is eligible for parole. O'Brien, shackled at the waist and wearing orange prison garb, told his former clients assembled in the Camden courtroom: "I let you down. " "I know that the only hope I have is that someday in my life I will be able to make amends to you. . . . It would take me an entire lifetime trying to do good to somehow repair what I have done.
August 16, 2004 |
From the beginning, the case against disbarred Camden County lawyer Dennis O'Brien was unlike any other faced by prosecutors. And authorities say it has required an equally "unique response. " O'Brien, who built a practice around a reputation as a church-going family man, pleaded guilty last August to stealing $2.5 million from 33 clients, including $850,000 from an autistic Audubon man. The total amount stolen, officials have discovered, has risen to $2.75 million from 39 clients.
March 23, 2004 |
The case pits a disbarred lawyer against a disrobed one. The accusations, punctuated by insults and invectives, have run the gamut from hiding Penthouse Pet income to threatening Mafia hits. The result? A property settlement thrashed out in Chester County Court on Dec. 9 between adult model Victoria Zdrok and her ex-husband, Alexander Zdrok, has self-destructed. Now the parties face an outcome that may prove more challenging: a showdown with a judge who expressed distaste for the tactics on both sides.
January 25, 2004 |
They trusted Dennis O'Brien with $2.5 million in inheritances and other financial accounts, then found out he had stolen their money to pay his own debts and expenses. Now, five months after the disbarred Camden County lawyer pleaded guilty to the theft, most of his 37 victims will be lucky to get back half of their losses. S. David Brandt, a court-appointed special master and special counsel, said he expected to raise about $1 million from the sale of 11 O'Brien properties over the coming months.
August 27, 2003 |
A disbarred Camden County lawyer who built a practice around his reputation as a churchgoing family man pleaded guilty yesterday to stealing $2.5 million from 33 clients, including about $1 million from an autistic Audubon man. Dennis O'Brien, 61, of Station Avenue in Haddon Heights, admitted taking the money from people who had named him guardian of their estates or entrusted other financial accounts to him for investment. More than two dozen of his victims and their relatives and friends sat quietly in state Superior Court as O'Brien listened to the charges, then accepted responsibility.