WEST CHESTER, PA — Thomas Schindler, 61, of Coatesville, this week pleaded guilty to multiple counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received after he stole over $1 million from three former law clients in three separate cases, announced the Chester County District Attorney’s Office. The defendant will be sentenced at a later date.
In June 2021, the defendant was arrested and charged with stealing nearly $1 million from former clients who hired him for their divorce. The charges stemmed from a 2018 financial agreement with the victims where he failed to make required transfers of proceeds from the sale of their home.
Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan stated, “Thomas Schindler misused his power and took advantage of his clients at vulnerable times in their lives. They came to him looking for guidance, and he betrayed that trust for his own selfish gain. It is especially disheartening when those who take an oath to uphold the law are the ones who violate it. Thank you to Detective Keith Cowdright of Chester County Detectives, Detective Sergeant Andrew Tritz, III of the Easttown Township Police Department, and DDA Bill Judge for your hard work to secure justice for these victims.”
Chester County Detectives began investigating the first of two additional complaints against the defendant in June 2021, involving $100,000 he was legally required to hold in an escrow account during a divorce case. The money came from the sale of a marital home, to be dispersed according to the divorce decree.
When the divorce was finalized in December 2018, detectives learned the victim’s former spouse received a disbursement of $35,000. The victim told investigators that he never received the remaining $65,000 until he contacted the defendant in March 2019. At that time, the defendant gave the victim two checks totaling $30,000.
Detectives reviewed the bank records of the defendant’s law firm, Schindler Law Group, and discovered that after fees and payments for the victim’s divorce, the victim had not received $2,070 that he was owed from the defendant.
In November 2021, Chester County Detectives received a second complaint regarding retainer money given to the defendant by a client who hired him as a defense attorney. The victim paid the defendant $95,000 in August 2019 for representation in a criminal matter.
The investigation showed that the defendant was disbarred in July 2020, and the criminal matter involving the victim was transferred to another attorney. Detectives discovered that the victim was never paid the $84,000 balance owed to him at the time of the defendant’s disbarment despite numerous attempts and requests by the victim and his new attorney.
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