According to an article in the February 16, 2014, edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) has been investigating Mequon, Wisconsin attorney Sarah Laux since 2011 about a smaller matter, but up until now has never warned the public that she may have stolen over $2 million from clients.
According to the article Mark Franzen said he read about Laux’s legal troubles in the Journal Sentinel last May. Laux persuaded Franzen’s parents, Harold and Mary Ann Franzen, to transfer $2.1 million to corporations under her control for the purpose of investing in a series of annuities. Laux never invested all of the money for the Franzens, and never returned the $2.1 million to them. The matter is also currently being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
This is the latest in a series of cases in which investigations of lawyers by the Wisconsin OLR have dragged on for years while additional, unsuspecting clients may have had hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars stolen from them.
I have long advocated that the legal profession live up to its responsibility to protect the public by publicaly warning that a rogue lawyer might be stealing from his or her clients without waiting years for formal charges to be issued. The public deserves better.