A former Carlsbad attorney admitted that she took money from two clients’ accounts and used those funds “for personal use,” according to a plea deal read in court by the judge on January 24.
Patricia Ann Gregory, 61, admitted to one felony count of misappropriation of funds by trustee when she took funds from the account of a client for whom she had handled a divorce. The money from the sale of a house owned by the client and her soon-to-be-ex husband was put into a trust fund controlled by the disgraced attorney.
According to prosecutor Sherry Thompson, “Originally the complaint charged losses of over $100,000. It was subsequently determined that the defendant had paid in excess of $30,000 back and the combined loss suffered between the remaining victims is over $85,000.”
Gregory was “involuntarily” listed as inactive and “not eligible to practice law” on the State Bar website at the end of hearings in March 2011. The judge who heard that matter recommended that Gregory be disbarred, according to documents posted by the State Bar. Gregory was made eligible to practice law in California in 2003, according to the website.
Gregory also admitted to two misdemeanors in the plea deal this week. The first misdemeanor was another fraudulent taking of funds from a different client’s account; the other misdemeanor was for illegally advertising her services as an attorney after she was ineligible to practice law.
Prosecutor Sherry Thompson dropped ten felony charges, including the taking of funds from a third victim, as part of the plea deal. The prosecutor suggested that victims of Gregory’s fraud could apply to the State Bar for reimbursement through their “security fund,” which she said has a $50,000 limit and “will not pay interest.”
Gregory expects to be sentenced to 365 days on February 24, although judge Kimberlee Lagotta noted that the maximum possible sentence for Gregory's offenses is three years.
Pictured: Patricia Gregory
Photo by Nick Morris