Texas Attorney Pleads Guilty to Keeping Client Awards

August 9, 2012

A Texas attorney who represented children in personal injury cases has pleaded guilty to using their legal awards — hundreds of thousands of dollars — for his personal use.

Court records show that John Williams Coates pleaded guilty to felony aggregated misapplication of fiduciary property under a 10-year prison deal.

Assistant prosecutor Gail Van Winkle told the Austin American-Statesman that Coates has returned the $600,000 he had withheld from the Travis County court registry and his clients.

Coates had been approved by a judge to represent minors. He was to accept awards on their behalf from insurance companies.

He was supposed to put the money into a registry, where it would remain until the child turned 18. But the money wasn’t there when some tried to retrieve it.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.