Bucks Co. lawyer charged with defrauding client’s estate of $1.7 million-plus

By Jon Campisi | Oct 22, 2013

A Bucks County lawyer who specializes in estate and probate matters has
been indicted by federal prosecutors on charges that he defrauded a client’s estate of more than $1.7 million.

Randolph Scott, 70, of Doylestown, who runs the Warrington, Pa.-based law practice Randolph Scott Associates, is charged with one count of mail fraud, two counts of aggravated identity theft, one count of tax evasion, one count of attempting to interfere with administration of internal revenue laws, and three counts of failure to file income tax returns, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia.

Scott was indicted on Oct. 3, but prosecutors didn’t announce the charges until Oct. 17.

The government alleges that while representing the estate of John C. Bready between December 2005 and October 2011, Scott diverted about $1,758,193 of estate funds to his private law office accounts.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office claims that Scott purposely failed to file a required federal estate tax return on behalf of Bready’s estate in order to maintain sufficient money in the estate to pay its beneficiaries and to avoid the detection of theft.

Federal law would have required the filing of the tax form because Bready’s estate was valued at more than $6 million at the time of the man’s death in 2005.

Had Scott filed the required estate tax return, about $520,351 would have been paid to the Internal Revenue Service, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The indictment also alleges that after the estate’s executor passed away in 2009, Scott failed to disclose the death so that the investment account manager would continue to send the executor’s checks to the defendant’s law firm.

Scott would then forge the executor’s signature and deposit the checks into his law firm’s account, the government alleges.

The indictment also alleges that Scott had the successor executor sign a document renouncing that position so that Scott could continue to forge the signature of the deceased executor and divert money belonging to the estate.

Scott faces a mandatory minimum of two years in prison, consecutive to any other term of imprisonment imposed on the mail fraud count, which could result in more than three decades behind bars, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

The defendant could also be made to pay restitution in the amount of $520,351 to the IRS, and restitution to the estate in the amount of $1,758,193.

He could also be given three years of supervised release, and be made to pay a $1.4 million fine and a $500 special assessment.

Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS Criminal Investigations investigated the case.

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