Lawyer sentenced in thefts

June 17, 1993|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff Writer

A Baltimore lawyer already facing disbarment was sentenced yesterday to a year in prison for stealing more than $10,000 from two clients.

Richard G. Wiley Jr., who received a five-year sentence with all but one year suspended for a felony theft conviction April 30, faces disbarment in connection with allegations that he bilked a 91-year-old man out of more than $180,000.

Upon his release from prison, Wiley will be placed on four years of supervised probation and be required to pay $10,500 in restitution to the company formed by two clients who had sought to open a convenience store in West Baltimore.

Wiley, a 6-foot-5-inch, 340-pound former Morgan State University football player, is also accused of using his size to intimidate a 73-year-old woman into paying $63,000 for legal services connected with her dead mother's $150,000 estate.

Now that Wiley has been sentenced in the theft case, the state Attorney Grievance Commission will, within the next few days, ask the Maryland Court of Appeals to suspend Wiley's license to practice law, counsel Melvin Hirshman said yesterday.

The commission has already initiated proceedings against Wiley in connection with the allegations involving the 91-year-old man and the intimidation accusations. The commission's proceedings against the lawyer have been marked by an apparently forged legal document filed on Wiley's behalf.

Over the objections of Wiley's lawyer, Edward Smith Jr., prosecutor April Gluckstern told Judge Ellen M. Heller of the grievance commission's allegations against Wiley.

The prosecutor also noted that Wiley, who claimed an annual income of $230,000, had lost a $180,000 default judgment to the 91-year-old man's family, who had sued him, claiming Wiley commited fraud in cleaning out the elderly man's bank account.

"As an attorney you are held to a higher standard. You are bound to an oath. You have a covenant with your client," Ms. Gluckstern told the court. She said her office has prosecuted several lawyers over the years, but all have entered guilty pleas, and Wiley is the first lawyer to go to trial on criminal charges in Baltimore in 20 years.

Wiley -- who, after being found guilty, told a reporter, "I have never taken anything" -- took an apologetic tack yesterday. He told the judge, "I truly am sorry this happened. . . . I'd like to make restitution in this matter and perform any other services the court deems necessary."

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