A personal injury attorney who was recently suspended by the California State Bar was indicted Friday on federal charges that allege he stole the majority of a multi-million dollar client settlement, most of which should have been paid to the victim of an automobile accident.
Philip James Layfield, 44, who was arrested in New Jersey last week after returning to the United States from his new residence in Costa Rica, was named in a three-count indictment returned this afternoon by a federal grand jury.
Layfield, who is also certified public accountant, is charged with mail fraud and two counts of money laundering. Layfield will be arraigned on the indictment once he arrives in Los Angeles after being transported from New Jersey by the U.S. Marshals Service.
Layfield owned and operated the Layfield & Barrett law firm (L&B), which maintained offices in Irvine, Los Angeles, and other locations.
Faced with declining revenues, Lawfield decided to close the firm and relocate to Costa Rica.
Around that time, according to the indictment, Layfield took a number of steps that defrauded his clients, including filing unnecessary litigation to trigger increased attorney’s fees, settling personal injury cases without advising L&B clients, and stealing settlement funds that should have been paid to clients.
The indictment specifically alleges that Layfield entered into an agreement to represent Josephine Nguyen who was struck by an automobile in Orange County in 2016 and suffered significant injuries, according to officials.
The complaint was filed in Orange Superior Court in California on July 25, 2016, alleging personal injuries incurred when Nguyen was struck by a motor vehicle while crossing a street on Feb. 24 of that year, according to the Metropolitan News Express.
Layfield fled to Costa Rica in June of last year. He was in the U.S. for two days in October, returning to Costa Rica, and came back to the U.S. Feb. 19, according to an affidavit. It says the attorney intended take a return flight to Costa Rica from Newark, the News Express reported.
He was arrested Feb. 26 and later extradited to California.
The indictment specifically alleges that Layfield entered into an agreement to represent an individual who was struck by an automobile in Orange County in 2016 and suffered significant injuries.
After negotiating a $3.9 million settlement related to the accident, Layfield allegedly misappropriated most of money due to the victim – approximately $2 million.
The indictment alleges that he transferred some of the victim’s share to his personal bank accounts and some on L&B payroll. The indictment states that the car accident victim received only $25,000 of the settlement proceeds.
The defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
If he were to be convicted of the three counts in the indictment, Layfield is facing up to 60 years in federal prison.Warning: file_get_contents(): https:// wrapper is disabled in the server configuration by allow_url_fopen=0 in /hermes/bosnacweb02/bosnacweb02af/b360/ipg.sbnotebookcom/wp-content/themes/goodnews5/framework/functions/posts_share.php on line 151 Warning: file_get_contents(https://plusone.google.com/_/+1/fastbutton?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cjnotebook.com%2Fattorney-indicted-for-pocketing-money-from-clients-multi-million-dollar-settlement%2F): failed to open stream: no suitable wrapper could be found in /hermes/bosnacweb02/bosnacweb02af/b360/ipg.sbnotebookcom/wp-content/themes/goodnews5/framework/functions/posts_share.php on line 151