A disbarred attorney was convicted today of stealing thousands of dollars from clients over a span of two years, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.
At a court appearance this morning, James Patrick Stoneman (dob 9/21/52) of Claremont pleaded no contest to three misdemeanor counts of grand theft in case KA115869.
Under the terms of a negotiated plea agreement, Stoneman paid the victims $11,000 in restitution and subsequently had the original felony charges reduced to misdemeanor grand theft.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Jack Hunt additionally sentenced the defendant to three years of summary probation.
Deputy District Attorney Brandy Chase, who prosecuted the case, said at the time of the crimes, Stoneman was an employment law attorney in Claremont. From July 2014 to August 2015, Stoneman represented three separate people in employment dispute cases, according to the prosecutor.
Once the defendant would receive the retainer fee from the client, he would flee with their money and do no work on their cases, the prosecutor said. Moreover, the defendant refused to respond to phone calls and emails and shut down his law office.
The State Bar of California disbarred Stoneman on March 31, 2017.
The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation.
Los Angeles District Attorney / case KA115869 / January 29, 2018