Ex-lawyer charged with de­fraud­ing ad­di­tional clients

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Fran Maye [email protected]­tu­ry­media.com @ dai­ly­lo­cal on Twit­ter

WEST CH­ESTER >> A for­mer Down­ing­town at­tor­ney who au­thor­i­ties say de­frauded nearly 30 clients, spend­ing the money they gave him on strip clubs and pornog­ra­phy, has been ar­rested again.

Joshua Ja­nis, 38, was charged of de­fraud­ing three le­gal clients of a to­tal of $8,000, Ch­ester County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Tom Ho­gan an­nounced Fri­day. Ja­nis al­ready has been ar­rested for de­fraud­ing 29 for­mer clients and for theft charges re­lat­ing to his wife as a vic­tim.

Ja­nis was ad­mit­ted to prac­tice law in Penn­syl­va­nia in 2006. His law li­cense was sus­pended for five years in 2015. Ho­gan said the to­tal amount of al­leged thefts from for­mer clients is now ex­ceeds $100,000, in ad­di­tion to the thefts from his wife.

“The de­fen­dant en­gaged in a seem­ingly never-end­ing se­ries of frauds. And we are still look­ing at him for other po­ten­tial crim­i­nal schemes,” Ho­gan said. “We will not quit un­til we have un­cov­ered the full scope of his crim­i­nal con­duct.”

Res­i­dents of Berks, Bucks, Ch­ester and Mont­gomery coun­ties were among Ja­nis’ vic­tims, ac­cord­ing to au­thor­i­ties.

Dur­ing the time the al­leged thefts oc­curred, Ja­nis

resided in Down­ing­town. From 2006 to 2013, he worked for a law firm in West Ch­ester. He started his own law firm in Down­ing­town in 2013 and moved around to var­i­ous other lo­ca­tions in Ch­ester County un­til his law li­cense was sus­pended in 2015.

Dur­ing 2014 to 2015, Ja­nis re­ceived pay­ments from clients in Ch­ester County to rep­re­sent them in le­gal mat­ters, Ho­gan said. As an at­tor­ney, Ja­nis was ob­li­gated to de­posit client pay­ments into an in­ter­est of lawyer ac­count, where fees for le­gal ser­vices could be deb­ited in ac­cor­dance with

an at­tor­ney-client con­tract.

Ja­nis, Ho­gan said, de­frauded three clients when he re­ceived le­gal re­tainer pay­ments re­spec­tively of $2,500, $2,500, and $3,000 and failed to de­posit those funds into the trust ac­count as re­quired. Fur­ther­more, Ja­nis failed to pro­vide the promised le­gal ser­vices for those funds. The clients who were de­frauded had paid the de­fen­dant to per­form le­gal ser­vices re­lat­ing to child cus­tody cases and di­vorce pro­ceed­ings.

His wife Jennifer Hul­nick-Ja­nis, filed for sep­a­ra­tion in De­cem­ber, 2017, and then di­vorce. It was Ja­nis

af­ter the sep­a­ra­tion that Hul­nick no­ticed dis­crep­an­cies on her credit card, and paid for a credit re­port. It was then that she no­ticed her ex-hus­band had set up

ac­counts in her name with­out her knowl­edge.

Fol­low­ing the di­vorce, Hul­nick be­gan to get bills from var­i­ous ac­counts that she did not rec­og­nize. She then ran her own credit re­port and re­al­ized that the de­fen­dant had opened mul­ti­ple ac­counts in her name and cre­ated large unau­tho­rized ex­penses. Hul­nick brought the in­for­ma­tion to the at­ten­tion of the po­lice, who in­ves­ti­gated the scheme.

The po­lice dis­cov­ered that Ja­nis had used his now ex-wife’s iden­tity to set up ac­counts NetCredit, Cap­i­tal One, KeyBank, Chase, T-Mo­bile, Bank of Amer­ica, Citibank, Com­cast, and AT&T.

Ja­nis is charged with theft by fail­ure to make re­quired dis­po­si­tion of funds, re­ceiv­ing stolen prop­erty, and Theft by De­cep­tion. His bail was set at $10,000 un­se­cured and his pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing is sched­uled for Feb. 15, 2019.

The Ch­ester County De­tec­tives in­ves­ti­gated the case. The as­signed pros­e­cu­tor is Chief Deputy Dis­trict At­tor­ney Ron Yen. Any­one with ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion should con­tact Ch­ester County De­tec­tive Bob Dougherty at 610-344-6866.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.