Longtime Cleveland attorney charged with stealing $115,000 from estate (OH)

CLEVELAND, Ohio — An 84-year-old Cleveland attorney is accused of stealing $115,000 from the estate of a client, and using the money to pay his bills.

Gerald Cooper is charged in federal court with wire fraud for stealing from the estate of Henry Luke. He used the money to pay credit card bills, sports tickets and mortgage payments, among others, prosecutors allege.

The charges were filed Tuesday in an information, which usually means a guilty plea is forthcoming.

Cooper, a Pepper Pike resident, was admitted to practice law in Ohio in 1957. He is retired, according to the Supreme Court of Ohio’s website.

Gordon Friedman, Cooper’s attorney, said his client is working toward paying all of the money back.

“He has had an outstanding and remarkable career as a lawyer,” Friedman said. “It is unfortunate that this final moment of his practice is kind of a dark mark on his reputation.”

According to the information:

Cooper filed an application to administer Luke’s estate in Cuyahoga County Probate Court. Between February and March 2014, he received $138,397 from three of Luke’s bank accounts.

Cooper then took $115,000 from the estate between February to October 2014 by writing a series of checks. The money then went into his personal account.

Probate court records show Cooper resigned as the estate’s administrator on March 6.

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel, an arm of the state Supreme Court tasked with investigating and pursuing discipline against attorneys who commit wrongdoing, could not say Wednesday whether Cooper faced discipline.

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Attribution:

Longtime Cleveland attorney charged with stealing $115,000 from estate
Eric Heisig, Northeast Ohio Media Group
April 1, 2015
Cleveland.com
http://www.cleveland.com/court-justice/index.ssf/2015/04/longtime_cleveland_attorney_ch.html

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