|For Immediate Release
Case # 12CF2363 June 14, 2013
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
FORMER ATTORNEY CONVICTED AND SENTENCED FOR EMBEZZLING OVER $150,000 IN INSURANCE CLAIMS AND DEFRAUDING HIS CLIENTS
*Defendant is not eligible to practice law in California
SANTA ANA- A former attorney was convicted and sentenced yesterday for embezzling over $150,000 in insurance claims and defrauding his clients. Tuan Thanh Tran, 44, Irvine, pleaded guilty yesterday June 13, 2013, to 10 felony counts of embezzlement by fiduciary of trust with a sentencing enhancement for theft exceeding $200,000. Tran was sentenced to one year in jail, five years formal probation, and ordered to pay restitution.
Between May 2011 to February 2012, Tran represented five separate clients who were looking for legal representation and seeking compensatory damages for civil lawsuits related to traffic accidents.
While representing his clients, Tran settled with the insurance companies involved in the lawsuits and did not inform his clients, forged his clients’ signatures on their insurance checks and settlement forms, and kept the money for himself. Tran embezzled a total of over $200,000 from his five clients.
One of the victims reported the theft to the Irvine Police Department, who followed up with an investigation after receiving materials related to the case from an investigator with the State Bar of California.
Tran was admitted to the State Bar of California Nov. 23, 1999. The defendant’s clients in this case and former clients unrelated to this case submitted several complaints to the State Bar of California. On June 28, 2012, Tran became ineligible to practice law in California.
During the sentencing, former clients of the defendant spoke before the court. One victim described how Tran was a family friend and that she had been betrayed. An elderly couple described their loss and how the defendant took advantage of them by embezzling the insurance money that was owed to the victims following a car accident and how much they were depending on it.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Rebecca OIivieri prosecuted this case.