By Rosemary K. Otzman
As the business dealings of disbarred Belleville attorney Thomas A. White unfold at U.S. Bankruptcy Court where he seeks protection from creditors and former clients, it also unfolds where he faces criminal charges at 34th District Court.
White was disbarred July 15 and filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy July 19.
Although five felony charges were filed against White last month, the judge delayed White’s preliminary exam on those charges until Oct. 16 because more charges reportedly were pending.
As of Tuesday, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office said no other charges had been approved.
In the charges pending at 34th District Court White is accused of defrauding the late Leland Jordan and his wife Judith A. Jordan of Belleville.
Conviction on those charges could bring him 44 years in prison if sentenced to the maximum.
Consent judgment signed
In other action, on Oct. 9, Bankruptcy Court Judge Thomas J. Tucker signed a consent judgment against White for $166,573.95 to Anna F. Dziubek. The judgment amount is non-dischargeable.
The consent judgment may not be executed until the earlier of the lifting of the automatic stay in the bankruptcy filing or 180 days after the automatic stay is lifted.
This judgment will not restrict Dziubek from pursuing or receiving any payment from any source or any manner other than this judgment, including any restitution order that might come from the State Bar of Michigan Protection Fund.
The consent judgment was filed and granted the same day, since apparently the attorneys for White and Dziubek had agreed.
The complaint alleges that about Feb. 5, 2011, Heather Gray contacted White to set up an estate plan, including a revocable living trust for Dziubek, her mother. About March 17, 2011, Dziubek paid White $166,573.95 and White agreed to hold the funds in trust and to invest the funds for the benefit of Dziubek and in the name of the Living Trust.
According to the complaint, White told Dziubek the funds would be used to purchase a certificate of deposit, but they weren’t and the funds were misappropriated by White.
Dziubek asked White to return or otherwise account for the funds and he failed to do so.
The complaint alleges White committed fraud while acting in a fiduciary capacity and lied to his client while committing embezzlement and/or larceny, acting willfully and maliciously.
Complaint filed by Buttigieg
A new complaint was filed in Bankrupcy Court against White on Oct. 10 by Joseph and Amy Buttigieg, who are seeking a ruling that their debt of $7,200 is non-dischargeable by the Bankruptcy Court.
The complaint alleges that in December 2012, they retained White to perform legal services for them and agreed to pay him $500 to send a letter to some individuals regarding a property dispute.
The complaint alleges White told the Buttigiegs that he would use their credit card only for one $500 transaction to pay himself for his services, but following the authorized $500 payment, White paid himself a total of $7,200 from the card on different occasions. None of these payments were authorized, according to the Buttigiegs.
The Buttigiegs’ attorney John Rivard of UAW Ford Legal Services Plan said the debt is non-dischargeable because it was obtained through false pretenses, a false representation, or actual fraud. Also, non-dischargeable debts are those which are a result of fraud while acting in a fiduciary capacity, embezzlement, or larceny.
White is required to answer the complaint within 30 days.
On Tuesday, Oct. 10, White’s bankruptcy attorney added seven new unsecured, non-priority creditors to his list, which now totals $1,344,776, according to the amendment filed.
Additions were listed as “business debts”: Alyssa Renier ($100,000), Karen Forester ($43,000), Dan Fischer ($35,000), Paypal ($3,750), Dwayne Branhum ($19,000), Thomas Sienko ($100,000), and Judy Jordan ($60,000).
Also on the list of creditors holding unsecured non-priority claims listed as “business debts” are Betty Pendleton (unknown total), Ed Gallaway ($300,000), Eugene Tierney ($240,000), Jeffrey and Georgina Hamilton ($50,000), Paypal ($3,750), Thomas John Garrett Estate ($216,000), Thomas Schotthoefer (unknown), Vivian Jackson (unknown),
Aside from “business debts” are: Genisys Credit Union ($17,719, personal loan), Louis Leonor (business lease, unknown total), Sallie Mae Servicing Corp. ($153,000 for student loans), and University of Michigan Health System ($7,307 medical bills).
The mailing matrix for his case also includes Ford Motor Credit Co., the IRS, and State of Michigan Department of Treasury.
Claimants have until Dec. 26 to file with the court in the White bankruptcy case.
By Rosemary K. Otzman