Former Coldwater Attorney Sentenced For Stealing From Client
By: Mike Stiles - Thursday, May 9, 2024

LANSING – A disbarred Coldwater attorney has been sentenced for stealing money from an elderly client.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says 64 year old James O’Briant was sentenced Monday in Kalamazoo County 9th Circuit Court to 120 days in jail and 36 months of probation. He was also ordered to pay total restitution of $168,067.73.

O’Briant plead guilty in October 2023 to four counts of larceny of $20,000 or more and two counts of taxes-failure to file/false return. Under the plea agreement, O’Briant was required to pay $154,511.73 in restitution to the victim by the end of April and to agree to pay $13,556 in restitution to the Michigan Department of Treasury. In exchange, O’Briant would be sentenced on one count of Larceny $20,000 or More and one count of Taxes-Failure to File/False Return, and the remaining charges would be dismissed. However, O’Briant did not pay to the victim as required by the deadline and was sentenced on all six counts.

O’Briant, a previously disbarred attorney, had access to the money of a 95 year old woman who was a client of the law firm he worked at. O’Briant had a representation agreement with the victim and agreed to temporarily hold her money in the law firm’s trust account for safekeeping.

O’Briant transferred the victim’s money from the trust account to the firm’s business accounts, and then withdrew and transferred the money again to use for his own purposes. These transfers included over $40,000 to O’Briant’s personal investment accounts. In addition, O’Briant did not report the money he stole from the victim on his taxes in 2018 or 2019.


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