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SCV lawyer arrested for embezzlement

Posted: January 12, 2009 4:34 p.m.
Updated: January 12, 2009 5:08 p.m.
 
Los Angeles County District Attorney's office investigators arrested Santa Clarita attorney John Jeffrey Long on Friday for allegedly bilking clients of more than $150,000.

The district attorney charged Long, 60, with three counts of grand theft by embezzlement and fraud, said D.A. spokeswoman Shiara M. Davila, Long is also charged with one count of forgery, she said.

Long allegedly stole the money between June 2006 and July 2007 from a client who hired Long to represent him in a lawsuit, said Sean Hassett, deputy district attorney.

The victim retained Long on a contingency fee basis, agreeing to pay the attorney one-third of any settlement, he said.

Long allegedly kept more than one-third of the settlement from the unnamed client who filed the complaint, Davila said.

Long allegedly convinced his client to co-sign a $75,000 advance loan as part of his share of a $300,000 settlement, Davila said. Long allegedly underpaid his client by nearly $120,000 and failed to repay the advance once Long received the settlement, she said.

In a separate matter, Long allegedly settled a case against the wishes of another client, allegedly forged her name on the $20,000 settlement check and allegedly embezzled the money, Davila said.

The California State Bar Association disbarred Long in March 2007 for what it described as "irreparable injury."

A bar association investigation revealed that Long failed to notify clients of a settlement and failed to pay clients money received in a lawsuit, according to the state bar association Web site.

Long is being held at the Santa Clarita Sheriff's Station jail in lieu of $220,000 bail.

He is due to be arraigned at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center early next week, Davila said.

If convicted of all counts, Long faces a maximum sentence of six years and four months in state prison, Davila said.

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