A Kirkland personal-injury lawyer has forfeited his license to practice law amid criminal charges he embezzled up to $433,000 in settlement payments from his clients to support “a lavish lifestyle” and pay for his own business and personal expenses, according to King County prosecutors.
Brian Boddy, 50, was charged earlier this month with 16 counts of first-degree theft and one count of second-degree theft involving 17 different clients, charging papers say.
Noting discrepancies between Boddy’s accounting and settlement payments due his clients, charging papers say Boddy embezzled between $290,506 and $433,453 from 17 clients between March 2010 and September.
Kirkland police began investigating Boddy in September after two clients came forward to report the thefts, the papers say. Additionally, a husband and wife contacted the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA), “which resulted in an action taken against him for which he forfeited his license to practice law,” according to the charges.
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The WSBA’s online lawyer directory notes that Boddy “resigned in lieu of disbarment.” According to a spokeswoman, his resignation became effective Sept. 16, which coincides with the start of the Kirkland police investigation.
Boddy was briefly booked into the King County Jail on Thursday to be fingerprinted, jail and court records show. He is out of custody on a conditional release, the records say.
Boddy’s clients hired him to represent them in various “personal-injury events such as falls or traffic collisions in which they suffered injury and/or property damage resulting in financial ramifications,” charging papers say.
Boddy was to act on his clients’ behalf to obtain financial settlements with insurance companies to cover medical costs, lost wages, property damage and punitive damages for pain and suffering, according to the charges.
Some of the clients were led to believe their cases were moving toward a civil trial when instead Boddy had already obtained financial settlements without their knowledge, the charges say.
In some cases, Boddy forged “their signatures on documents such as liability waivers,” according to the charges.
The clients’ settlement payments were dispersed to a trust fund for clients, but Boddy then allegedly transferred money to his personal account “and misled his clients by giving false reasons for the delay in receiving settlement funds,” charging papers say.
A Kirkland police detective wrote in charging papers that Boddy and his wife, who are currently going through a divorce, “became accustomed to a lavish lifestyle” with living expenses totaling $40,000 a month. While his law practice was at one time “lucrative enough to support this lifestyle,” Boddy began using his clients’ settlement payments to cover the gap in his personal expenses when “his income began to falter,” the papers say.
“In many cases,” the charges say, “Boddy’s theft has left his victim clients financially destitute and hounded by insurance carriers and medical providers for unpaid expenses relating to their injuries or cases.”
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or firstname.lastname@example.org