A Buffalo attorney pleaded guilty Tuesday to embezzling $18,550 from an escrow account that held money to be paid to his client as part of a proposed settlement of a civil lawsuit he had filed for the client.
David Widenor, 45, of Linwood Avenue, faces a maximum prison term of 28 months to seven years when he is sentenced July 14 by Erie County Judge Michael F. Pietruszka on a felony charge of third-degree grand larceny. He was released on his own recognizance.
His attorney, Brian K. Parker, told the judge that Widenor hopes to make restitution payments between now and sentencing.
In the meantime, Widenor, whose law office is on Elmwood Avenue, is disbarred as a result of pleading guilty to a felony, according to Assistant District Attorney Brian P. Dassero.
The prosecutor said Widenor used the money for personal expenses, including paying for his children’s education, between April 1, 2013, and Oct. 31, 2013.
He said Widenor represented a foreign company, Electrolink Systems, in a breach-of-contract lawsuit he filed in Buffalo federal court on its behalf against a local firm, VOCAL Technologies Ltd.
Under a proposed settlement, he said, VOCAL Technologies sent $22,500 in good- faith money to Widenor to hold for his client until his client signed off on the settlement. The rest of the settlement amount was to be paid once the settlement was finalized.
The prosecutor said that VOCAL Technologies sent the $22,500 to Widenor in three payments between March and June 2013 and that Widenor spent $18,550 on personal expenses.
But because the settlement agreement was never signed, and the funds were never forwarded to Widenor’s client, the money was still the property of VOCAL Technologies, Dassero said.