A former attorney with Philadelphia’s Spector Gadon & Rosen was charged
late last week with defrauding clients of more than a half-million dollars.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania charged Gomer Thomas Williams, 54, of Philadelphia, via criminal information, which, as opposed to an indictment, generally signals a pending plea deal.
Federal prosecutors charged Williams with one count of wire fraud in connection with an alleged scheme to defraud clients of Spector Gadon & Rosen, where he was previously employed.
The charges leveled against Williams say that between 2007 and 2012, the attorney defrauded four of his trust and estate clients of about $503,361 by diverting funds from the clients’ accounts to his personal accounts, and by overbilling his clients for legal work that was never performed.
Williams was the trustee for the trusts in question and he was the administrator and/or executor of the estates that were allegedly defrauded.
“Williams exercised complete control over the victim-clients’ funds, including controlling their checking accounts,” reads a press account from the office of U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger. “The information alleges that he abused his fiduciary position in transferring funds from their accounts to pay his own personal expenses, including his mortgage.”
If convicted, Williams could face between 33 and 41 months in federal prison, a $100 special assessment, possible fines of an unspecified nature, and up to three years of supervised release.
A report Friday in the Philadelphia Business Journal said that Spector Gadon Chairman Paul Rosen received a call in the summer of 2012 from Cozen O’Connor criminal defense lawyer William Winning requesting a meeting about the matter.
Winning, who said he was representing Williams, told Rosen that his client would “voluntarily accept disbarment” and turn himself into authorities to face the charges.
Rosen, the publication reported, said Williams, who was the sole trustee for a handful of clients, was fired thereafter.
Winning, the attorney reportedly representing Williams, did not return an email by the Pennsylvania Record seeking comment.
The clients were reportedly reimbursed for what was stolen from them.
According to the criminal information, Spector Gadon & Rosen paid Williams approximately 40 percent of the legal fees collected from Williams’s clients.
Williams’s clients included the A.B. Trust, the J.H. Trust, the M.K. Estate, and the R.H. Estate, the charging papers state.
The attorney exercised complete control over the financial accounts of the trusts and estates, including possessing and exercising check writing authority on their checking accounts.
According to the website of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, Williams was disbarred on consent in late December 2012.