According to a report by NBC Bay Area, San Jose-based family lawyer Daniel Burt Halpern has been charged with stealing a whopping $800,000 from his clients.
The charge, which was filed by Deputy District Attorney Christine Garcia-Sen, stems from a divorce case in that began in 2011.
A divorcing couple sold their house and deposited the proceeds — $858,315 — in a trust account with Halpern, so that it could be allocated after the courts figured out who would get what amount. At least that’s what should have happened.
Instead, Halpern allegedly took it upon himself to transfer nearly all of that cash into his personal bank account, which, according to prosecutors, is now bone dry. Even the interest is gone.
Halpern, who is being held in custody on $1 million bail, is apparently rejecting the time-honored wisdom that “a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.”
Halpern is scheduled to enter a plea on November 7, and has yet to comment publicly on the charged. If convicted of the felony grand theft and aggravated white collar crime enhacement charges he currently faces, Halpern could face nearly a decade in prison.
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