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High court disbars convicted attorney

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 1:15 a.m. CDT

DIXON – A Dixon attorney convicted this summer of stealing thousands of dollars from an elderly client is disbarred, the state Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission reports.

Al Williams, 64, agreed in September to disbar himself. That required state Supreme Court approval, which was granted Nov. 19, the ARDC said in a news release.

Williams may not practice law and may not return to practice “unless and until the lawyer had demonstrated his or her rehabilitation, good character, and current knowledge of the law,” the release said.

Williams, an attorney since May 1985, could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

After he pleaded guilty July 19 to financial exploitation of a disabled person, he was sentenced to 6 months of conditional discharge and ordered to pay $15,992 in restitution to the estate of Dorothy Gaul. He repaid the money immediately.

Gaul, then 97 and living in a nursing home, hired Williams in August 2008 to handle her financial assets, which included her Dixon home and more than $113,000 in checking and savings accounts.

Williams opened a joint checking account with Gaul to be used to pay her expenses. 

Between December 2008 and August 2009, he wrote 25 checks to himself, totaling $95,000. He deposited 19 of those checks, totaling $92,800, into three bank accounts, then used the money for his own “business and/or personal purposes.” 

In August 2009, Gaul hired a new attorney to look into Williams’ use of her funds. Several months later, Williams sent the attorney a check made out to Gaul for $61,383.85. She died Feb. 1, 2010.

Julie Farster, administrator of Gaul’s estate, sued Williams in Lee County. Two months later, he was indicted.

Later that year, ARDC filed a complaint that accused him of “dishonesty,” “deceit,” and breaching his “fiduciary obligations” to Gaul.

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