Court Watch - POSTED: 2007/03/02 03:11
A disbarred lawyer indicted on charges of stealing about $750,000 from former clients pleaded not guilty at his arraignment yesterday.
Peter L. Schofield, 54, of 52 North St., Grafton, was arraigned in Worcester Superior Court on nine counts of larceny of more than $250, crimes he allegedly committed on various dates from Aug. 1, 2002, to March 13 of last year. He was indicted last month.
The Lithuanian War Veterans Organization alleges Mr. Schofield stole more than $500,000.
Judge John S. McCann set bail of $5,000 cash, as requested by Assistant District Attorney Herbert F. Travers III, and continued Mr. Schofield’s case to March 20. Mr. Schofield’s lawyer, Sean R. Holland, did not object to the prosecutor’s bail request, and Mr. Schofield was released after posting the $5,000.
Mr. Schofield and Mr. Holland declined to comment on the charges after the arraignment.
Mr. Schofield, a real estate lawyer who was admitted to the bar in 1985, was disbarred May 25 based on a New York couple’s allegations that he stole more than $84,000 from them in the sale of property they owned in Grafton. Checks totaling $84,274 that Mr. Schofield sent from his trustee account to the husband and wife, Brian and Deborah Larsen, bounced, according to a Board of Bar Overseers’ summary of the allegations that led to Mr. Schofield’s disbarment.
The Larsens are listed as victims in two of the indictments against Mr. Schofield. The indictments were returned by a grand jury Feb. 16.
Another of his alleged victims is the Lithuanian War Veterans Organization Inc., which filed a civil lawsuit against Mr. Schofield last year. The suit alleges that Mr. Schofield stole some of the proceeds from the $560,000 sale of the organization’s headquarters on South Quinsigamond Avenue in Shrewsbury to Adelphi Inc. of Shrewsbury, a branch of the Knights of Columbus.
The veterans group, which hired Mr. Schofield to complete the 2004 sale and resolve related legal matters, is seeking $600,000 in damages in its civil action.
The indictments list eight other alleged larceny victims, all former clients of Mr. Schofield.