LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A Northern Kentucky attorney has been permanently disbarred by the state's highest court, which said Thursday that his actions in bilking clients out of hundreds of thousands of dollars were "appalling and reprehensible."
The Kentucky Supreme Court revoked the law license of Patrick Edward Moeves of Fort Wright, Ky. after he sought to voluntarily resign. Chief Justice John D. Minton found that Moeves took hundreds of thousands of dollars in at least 13 cases, but failed to perform the legal work in conjunction with being hired.
Moeves also told several clients he was terminally ill, even though he wasn't. He also spent time in prison for defrauding a client.
"Conduct that besmirches the dignity of the profession and harms clients who have put their trust and faith in one of its practitioners will not be tolerated, Minton wrote in a 22-page opinion.
Moeves is the defendant in at least five civil suits in Kenton County, has been suspended from practicing law in Ohio and was arrested in December 2010 in Kentucky and charged with felony theft.
The Supreme Court found that Moeves took part in multiple fraudulent schemes involving clients from 2005 through 2012 and admitted to them in his resignation from the bar. The cases all have similar threads — Moeves taking money from a client and promising to do legal work, then either brushing off the client or repeatedly promising to complete the legal task, but not doing so.
In one case Minton cited from 2007, a woman hired Moeves to represent her in a federal criminal case in Alabama and to investigate whether her accountant was embezzling from her. Moeves told Baird he believed the money was being taken to Mexico and took funds for private investigators and trips to that country.
Moeves also told Baird he was friends with a U.S. senator who could get her a passport for $20,000. The passport never materialized and the senator, who wasn't named, told Baird he'd never heard of Moeves, Minton wrote.
Moeves later refunded $123,363 to Baird and promised another $315,000, but it remains unclear if those funds were repaid, Minton wrote. Baird would later plead guilty to harboring illegal aliens and serve three years of probation. She sued Moeves in 2009 and filed a bar complaint against him.
In another case, Moeves pleaded guilty to taking $4,000 from a client that should have gone to restitution in the client's criminal case. Moeves was sentenced to two years in prison.
On at least three occasions, Moeves told clients he suffered from terminal illnesses, including ALS, when he wasn't ill, Minton wrote.
Moeves also forged the name of state Sen. Jack Westwood on a property deed in a probate case, then sold the property to a relative.
Moeves has been convicted of crimes at least twice and sentenced to prison. Moeves was released from the Kenton County jail where he was serving his sentence on July 23. The jail site says he was paroled. Eric Deters of Independence, who once represented Moeves during one of the criminal investigations, said Thursday that Moeves is not a client.
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