Say it ain’t so.
But the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office in Freehold, New Jersey says it is allegedly so. The Atlantic Highlands Herald reports that after a three-year investigation, attorney Lynne Kenneally, and her former paralegal, Tara Howie, have been charged with theft and failure to make required disposition of more than $800,000.
Belonging to senior citizens adjudicated to be incompetent to handle their own financial affairs.
Please say it ain’t so.
In my experience, these people desperately need that money for essentials like housing, food, clothing, and medical care. Even if they weren’t on fixed incomes, they still deserved to have their money managed intelligently and honestly – and for their benefit. Kenneally and Howie are accused of spending those funds on college tuition, mortgage payments, car payments, and other personal expenditures.
The paralegal and attorney are both out on bond pending arraignment proceedings, but no matter what happens, even if at best it was extraordinarily incompetent management of business and client accounts, nothing will compensate their wards – the people dependent on their lawyer and staff to look after their best interests, protect them, and manage their money because they couldn’t do it themselves – for a six-year deprivation and mismanagement of funds.
As the Montgomery Prosecutor’s Office states:
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and State law.
I hate sharing these kinds of stories, especially involving anyone with the job title paralegal, but they have educational value, and legal professionals need to follow the news, good, bad, or indifferent.
Source: Atlantic Highlands Herald