$720K Scheme: Former Stamford Attorney Defrauds Clients, Gets Jail Time

A former real estate attorney based in Fairfield County will spend time in prison after stealing more than $700,000 from his clients for both his own use and for paying debts owed to others. 

<p>A former Stamford-based attorney will spend time in prison for stealing over $720,000 from his clients.&nbsp;</p>

A former Stamford-based attorney will spend time in prison for stealing over $720,000 from his clients. 

Photo Credit: Canva/Industrial Photograph

Westerly Rhode Island resident William McCullough, age 63, was sentenced on Wednesday, Nov. 15 to 12 months and one day in prison for stealing more than $700,000 from clients of his Stamford-based law practice, the US Attorney's Office for the District of Connecticut announced. 

According to federal officials, before resigning from the Connecticut bar in March 2019, McCullough operated a law practice in Stamford where he would work on real estate transactions for clients. Part of his duties included receiving funds from clients which he was required to deposit into an Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account (IOLTA). 

However, in March 2018, the Connecticut Statewide Grievance Committee conducted an audit of McCullough’s IOLTA Account and discovered that he had not maintained the required documents related to the account for several years. The audit also determined that the IOLTA Account only held less than $600,000 despite McCullough owing over $1.27 million to his clients. 

A criminal investigation eventually revealed that McCullough had defrauded his clients by using the funds in his IOLTA account to pay funds he owed to others, as well as for his own personal use. In order to prevent this from being found out, he had also given fake representations to his clients such as false closing statements. 

As a result of the scheme, McCullough's clients lost around $720,851.05, which he has been ordered to pay as restitution. 

McCullough, who pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, will report to prison on Monday, Jan. 8. He is now released on bond. In addition to his sentence, he will also be required to serve three years of supervised release. 

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