Disbarred lawyer turns himself in after arrest warrant is issued in theft of $380,000 from his former clients
Published: February 28, 2014
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ST. CROIX - Former attorney Maxwell McIntosh turned himself in to police early Thursday morning after being notified of a warrant for his arrest on charges that he embezzled more than $380,000 from former clients in two separate cases.
Dressed in a light blue dress shirt and dark slacks, McIntosh appeared in handcuffs before Magistrate Miguel Camacho to be advised of his rights on charges of embezzlement by fiduciaries, obtaining money under false pretense and violating the criminally influenced and corrupt organization act.
According to police, the charges stem from unlawful conduct that investigators said took place between May 5, 2009, and March 2, 2012, involving one of McIntosh's bank accounts.
According to the affidavit in support of the warrant for McIntosh's arrest, V.I. Police Insular Detective Mark Corniero reported that McIntosh developed a professional relationship with a woman and her daughter when they retained him as counsel to oversee the probate of their deceased son and brother.
Corniero said the women turned over a check for $183,188 to McIntosh in June 2009 that they received from a wrongful death settlement on behalf of their dead relative, and McIntosh was to serve as counsel through the probate of the man's estate of their family member but did not.
The case languished for three years until April 2012, when they heard that McIntosh had been suspended from practicing law in the territory, and they tried to get the money back with no results, according to the affidavit.
On March 21, 2012, the V.I. Supreme Court suspended McIntosh from practicing law in the territory for one year and set a number of sanctions in place when he admitted numerous instances of ethical misconduct.
After the court determined that he failed to comply with the sanctions, McIntosh later was disbarred and prohibited from practicing law.
According to the affidavit, another attorney made inquiries with McIntosh's bank about the status of the account where the check was deposited and was told that all the funds had been depleted.
In the second case, Corniero said in his affidavit that a man reported to police on Dec. 11, 2012, that he was the executor of his deceased brother's estate and retained McIntosh to sell property for him in Hermon Hill. The man said the property, valued at more than $259,000, was sold, but the money never was turned over to him despite several attempts to collect it.
He told police that when he found out that McIntosh had been having problems with the bar association and the courts, he met with McIntosh, who confirmed that he was closing his law practice located on North Street in Christiansted and would no longer be practicing law. McIntosh told the man that his partner, attorney Anthony Kiture, would be taking over his cases, according to Corniero's affidavit.
The man said he asked for a breakdown of the money in the escrow account, but it never was provided.
The man said when Kiture took over the case, Kiture gave him $10,000 to pay property taxes; $1,500 to pay for termite control; $5,000 to pay for insurance on the home; and $2,500 to pay for repairs.
The man told police that, in addition to the funds from the sale of the home, his brother also had given McIntosh $24,000 to close on property in Estate Barren Spot, but the money never was used to pay for the property and was never returned or accounted for, according to the court documents.
Corniero outlined more than 40 checks written from the account between May 2009 and March 2012 that ranged in amounts from $125 to as much as $63,000 in separate transactions and totaled $387,290 to cover expenses that included mortgage payments; credit card payments; a gym membership; car repairs; loan repayments and late fees to two private individuals; and auto insurance costs and fees.
According to the affidavit, McIntosh was using that bank account to hold clients' funds, operate his business and pay off his personal bills.
Kiture represented McIntosh during Thursday's hearing and made an oral motion to the court asking that Kiture be released on his own recognizance, after posting an unsecured bond in the amount of bail, which had been set at $75,000.
With no objection from Assistant Attorney General Melissa Ortiz, Camacho granted the release motion.
Because a criminal complaint had been filed in the case, Kiture asked to move forward with arraignment for McIntosh, who pleaded not guilty to the five-count information against him, and requested a speedy jury trial in the case.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.