Former Attorney Indicted in Connection with Stealing More than $186,000 from Elderly Clients
GREENFIELD - A former Greenfield attorney has been indicted in connection with stealing more than $186,000 from an elderly couple he represented in a personal injury settlement case, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office announced today.
Edward Pepyne, Jr., age 58, of South Deerfield, was indicted by a Franklin County Grand Jury on the charge of Larceny over $250 of a Person Over Sixty Years of Age.
"We allege that Mr. Pepyne abused his position as an attorney to steal from an elderly husband and wife," AG Coakley said. "Our office will continue to aggressively prosecute cases in which we allege that people are taking advantage of our most vulnerable citizens."
In May 2011 , the AG's Office began an investigation after the matter was referred by the Northwestern District Attorney's Office . Pepyne worked as an attorney specializing in personal injury cases. In 2006, authorities believe Pepyne targeted an elderly husband and wife that had been in a serious automobile accident and offered to represent them in their personal injury claim. Investigators discovered that Pepyne and the elderly husband had known each other prior to the accident, and Pepyne used this relationship to offer his services as an attorney. Pepyne allegedly entered into an agreement that allowed him to keep one third of the funds he recovered for his clients in the personal injury claim. Pepyne settled his clients' case prior to litigation, and he eventually deposited the settlement funds into his business account he had at a local bank.
Authorities allege that instead of giving his clients the settlement proceeds they were owed, Pepyne lied to the couple and told them that he had to keep more than one third of the money he recovered on their behalf to pay for outstanding medical expenses. Investigators discovered that in reality no outstanding medical expenses existed. As a result of his scheme, Pepyne allegedly withheld more than $186,000 from his elderly clients and used those stolen funds for his personal use. Pepyne was later disbarred from practicing law in February 2010 after his alleged activities were reported to the Office of Bar Counsel.
A Franklin County Grand Jury returned an indictment against Pepyne on June 24, 2011. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Franklin Superior Court at a later date.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Jesse Siegel, of AG Coakley's Fraud and Financial Crimes Division.