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Former attorney gets 4 years for stealing more than $600K from clients

Updated: Jan. 19, 2017 at 8:13 PM EST
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DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A former Cleveland attorney was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison for stealing more than $600,000 from clients.

Kaufman, 67, of Shaker Heights, had been charged with one count of theft, 20 counts of identity fraud, and 20 counts of forgery. The offenses took place between 2009 and 2014.

Investigators said Kaufman would win judgments or settlements for his clients, forge their names on checks, and pocket the funds. They said that sometimes he eventually paid his clients some or all of their money -- though usually only after repeated complaints -- and sometimes he never gave them anything.

There were at least 15 victims.

Some of his clients have been made whole or at least partially compensated through the Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection, a program created by the Ohio Supreme Court to reimburse victims of attorney theft, embezzlement or misappropriation. Money in the fund comes from registration fees paid by every Ohio attorney.

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