The money was supposed to go to the Kirkwood United Methodist Church and Alzheimer's Association. Instead it went into the pocket of the lawyer who'd been hired to help manage an estate.
The attorney in question, Steven Gartenberg, 46, pleaded guilty this week to two separate counts of mail fraud involving his work with some five former clients. In the case mentioned above, Gartenberg allegedly embezzled more than $100,000 for his personal use.
In another case, Gartenberg is accused of embezzling $200,000 from a mentally incapable client after he was named her legal guardian and made responsible for managing her finances. In other instances, Gartenberg pocketed tens of thousands of dollars belong to other clients.
Gartenberg could face a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison and/or fines of $500,000 when he's sentenced in September. No matter the sentence, however, restitution is mandatory, meaning Gartenberg will have to dream up some new plan to pay his clients back.