Another real estate attorney has broken bad.
William McCullough, a 63-year-old lawyer from Westerly, Rhode Island, was sentenced by a federal judge to a year and a day in prison for embezzling more than $700,000 in transactions from clients, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Prior to his resignation from the Connecticut bar in March 2019, McCullough ran a law practice in Stamford, specializing in real estate.
McCullough, according to court documents, received funds from clients with the obligation to deposit them in an account meant for charitable purposes and use them in accordance with his duties.
An audit by the Connecticut Statewide Grievance Committee in March 2018 uncovered McCullough’s failure to maintain required documents, revealing a deficit of over $1.3 million owed to clients.
Subsequent investigations exposed McCullough’s fraudulent activities, diverting client funds to cover debts and for personal use. He provided false closing statements to clients, concealing the scheme.
McCullough pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud on November 22, 2022, admitting his involvement in the client theft scheme that caused approximately $720,851.05 in losses to clients.
In addition to the prison sentence, Judge Victor Bolden ordered McCullough to pay full restitution. He is set to report to prison on Jan. 8.
McCullough is just the latest attorney ensnared by federal prosecutors for mishandling funds in recent months.
Last month, Matthew Allen Dickason, who owned his own law firm, diverted several million dollars meant for clients’ real estate transactions into his personal use, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Dickason, 47, concealed his actions by falsifying records in the firm’s accounting system, making it appear that funds were being used for legitimate purposes when they were siphoned into his personal use.