Five clients lost their homes because of lawyer
Atlanta–Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr., announces the conviction by GUILTY PLEA of 66-year-old disbarred attorney, ROBERT T. THOMPSON, JR.
Thompson was an attorney who specialized in home foreclosure. Clients sought his help and relied on his experience to fight to save their homes. However, between February 2012 and August 2014, Thompson collected legal fees from at least 26 clients, took no legal action to save their homes, and used the legal fees to cover personal expenses. As a result of this malfeasance, at least five of Thompson’s clients lost their homes to foreclosure. The victims complained to the Atlanta Police Department and the State Bar of Georgia. As a result of the complaints filed by Thompson’s clients, the Atlanta Police Department conducted an extensive investigation which led to the issuance of several arrest warrants. Additionally, an investigation of Thompson by the State Bar concluded with Thompson’s disbarment from the practice of law. In total, Thompson collected legal fees and misused more than $250,000 in funds from at least 26 clients.
Analysis of Thompson’s bank records revealed that soon after his clients paid their fees, the defendant deposited the checks into his firm’s account, immediately withdrew the funds, and then used the money for personal items and to pay the salaries of his employees for work unrelated to the victims in this case. For many clients, Thompson’s firm never performed any work. In other cases, where some work was completed, deadlines were missed and often no one from Thompson’s firm appeared in court causing certain cases to be dismissed without the client’s knowledge. Thompson then lied to his client’s to cover his tracks. In February 2015, Thompson was disbarred. To date, the State Bar’s Client Security Fund has reimbursed more than $160,000 to Thompson’s victims.
THOMPSON pled guilty to all 32 felony counts in the indictment including, THEFT BY TAKING BY FIDUCIARY and FORGERY IN THE FIRST DEGREE. Thompson was sentenced to 5 YEARS IN PRISON TO SERVE 6 MONTHS. Thompson must also repay $100,000 to the victims who have not received reimbursement from the Georgia Bar. Half of the amount must be paid within 30 days while the other half must be paid within two and a half years. Thompson may not hold a position of trust and may not practice law. Thompson must turn himself in on October 1, 2018, to start serving his prison sentence.
Judge Constance C. Russell, of the Superior Court of Fulton County, presided over the case. Deputy District Attorney Brad Malkin, head of the District Attorney’s Office’s White Collar Crime Unit, led the prosecution team. He was assisted by Investigator Gustavus Griffin as well as Victim Witness Advocates LaVert Forrest and Conard Peacock of the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. Major Fraud Unit Investigator Ken Stapler and Zone 2 Investigator Robert Jackson of the Atlanta Police Department were the Lead Investigators in the case.