Lawyer charged over $80k theft

by NZ Lawyer16 Nov 2016

A Hastings lawyer has been charged with stealing almost $80,000 of client funds before he was struck off in 2014.

A police investigation which started more than two years ago has resulted in David John Proteus, 65, facing five charges of theft and one of misappropriation.

It is alleged he committed theft by intentionally dealing with funds other than intended by clients, according to the Hawkes Bay Today.

Four charges relating to funds totaling $49,200 belonging to Hastings couple Neville and Margo Lush alleged to have been misappropriated by Proteus in 2010-2011.

The two other charges of theft relate to $29,232 belonging to a female client and alleged to have been misappropriated in 2011-2012.

Proteus turned in his practising certificate in September 2014 amid a Law Society investigation into the operation of the D.J.Proteus Lawyer trust account, which held funds on behalf of clients. He had been a lawyer in Hastings for 32 years when he closed his chambers in Russell St, Hastings.

He appeared before a registrar in Hastings District Court on Monday and was remanded on bail without pleas. He is due to appear again on November 28.