Attorney Sentenced to 11-23 Years for Defrauding & Stealing from Clients and Family

Joshua JanisJoshua Janis, 40, of New Jersey (Image: Chester County District Attorney)

WEST CHESTER, PA — The Chester County District Attorney announced that Joshua Janis, age 40, of New Jersey, was sentenced by Judge Patrick Carmody to 11-23 years in prison for multiple counts of theft, identity theft, fraud, and other charges.

A jury found the defendant guilty in Dec. ’20 of 34 counts of defrauding victims who were his clients. On a separate date, the defendant pled guilty to 31 counts of identity theft, forgery, and other charges stemming from cases involving his ex-wife & former mother-in-law.

District Attorney Deb Ryan said, “Eight years after the defendant’s criminal actions began, he is finally going to prison for victimizing people who hired him to represent their legal interests. He stole money & caused irreparable legal & emotional damage to victims of all ages in a callous & depraved manner. More than that, he stripped them of the valued trust between a client & their lawyer, tarnishing the profession. The victims, including his ex-wife & former mother-in-law, are to be commended for fighting to reclaim their lives from the damage he caused.”

Authorities state the defendant worked as a lawyer for a West Chester law firm in ’13 when it was discovered he was stealing money from the firm and its clients & let go. He then started his own law practice, where he repeatedly accepted payments from victims for legal work he never performed over the next 2 years. Victims paid the defendant to handle civil disputes, personal injury cases, child custody, divorce, protection from abuse, & criminal defense. In many cases, he hurt victims’ legal interests by acting contrary to their legal position.

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The defendant’s ex-wife began receiving credit card bills from companies where she did not have accounts. She discovered the defendant was opening credit cards & taking out loans in her name after their divorce. The defendant also used his mother-in-law’s name to open credit cards.

Chester County Detectives investigated. The prosecutors assigned were Ronald Yen and John McCaul.

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