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Former St. Petersburg Attorney Faces Grand Theft Charge for Stealing $279,000

bill-oxford-udXD2NrbXS8-unsplash-300x200A former St. Petersburg trust attorney was arrested and charged last week for allegedly stealing nearly $279,000 from a client.

Darce Jay Snyder, 68, faces a grand theft charge. He was ordered held on $150,000 bond at the Pinellas County Jail. The press did not name an attorney for him.

According to St. Petersburg police, the former trust attorney was the overseer of a trust account valued at more than $700,000. When his client Valeria Sexton-Maher of Jacksonville turned 50 and obtained control of the account’s assets last year, she discovered that the alleged attorney had purportedly stolen $279,000 between February and May 2015. He allegedly stole the money by writing checks to himself.

The said client told the press that the trust account was set up after her mother passed away in 2001 and contained close to a million dollars. She said it is now empty, but prosecutors can’t charge her attorney for stealing the entire amount because of the statute of limitations.

“What he was charged with is not the full extent of what he took from me,” the client said. “At the beginning of the trustee account, there was close to a million dollars in it and that was when my mother passed away in 2001. So, at a conservative rate of interest, we would be talking about millions.”

Sources indicate that the former attorney had his license to practice law revoked by the Florida Supreme Court in 2018 after he was accused of withdrawing $1.5 million in advance fees from another client without authorization. He was admitted to practice in 1977, records show.

The client said she wasn’t aware of her attorney’s law license revocation, which is tantamount to disbarment, until last year.

“It’s beyond upsetting. It makes me sad that unfortunately my mother trusted this person and thought that he was going to do the right thing for me,” she said. “I’ve prided myself on not touching any money from that trust until I needed it . . . I planned on using it for my retirement. I’ve had some health issues in the last couple of years and . . . that money would be a big deal for me now and I don’t have it.”

Grand theft is one of the most commonly charged felonies in the state of Florida. It involves unlawfully taking property with a value greater than $750 with the intention of either temporarily or permanently depriving the owner of that property.

Grand theft may be charged as a first, second, or third degree felony depending on the value of the property and other factors. Because of the severity of the penalties of a conviction, it is critical for a defendant to seek guidance from a skilled grand theft attorney. There are numerous effective defense strategies to a grand theft charge depending on the facts of your case.

South Florida Grand Theft Attorneys

Are you accused of grand theft? Contact Brian Silber, P.A. to set up a free initial consultation and work with one of South Florida’s most experienced grand theft attorneys.

Source: 3.11.20 former St. Petersburg trust attorney charged with stealing $279,000 from client.pdf

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