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POSTED: 4:27 pm CST February 1, 2006
OMAHA, Neb. — The attorney accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from his clients turned himself in on Thursday. Thomas Gleason, 56, is charged with two felony counts of theft. He is free until a bond hearing later this week.
A letter from Gleason’s psychiatrist indicates that he has suffered from severe anxiety and depression for more than 10 years. The psychiatrist said Gleason’s antidepressant medication had apparently stopped working early last year.
“What Mr. Gleason did is wrong,” said his attorney, James Martin Davis. “What we’re saying now is not an excuse. It’s just a mitigation.”
Davis said his client took money from his clients’ trust accounts, deposited it into his personal account, then used that money for his own purposes. Davis said Gleason has been struggling with mental illness for more than 10 years.
In 1995, records show Gleason was suspended from the practice of law for “misappropriation of client funds.” He was being treated for “depression and panic attacks” at the time.
In December, Gleason’s license was temporarily suspended again when clients complained that Gleason had not paid them their settlements from accident cases.
Now, Davis said, Gleason has voluntarily surrendered his license to practice, ending a 30-year career in personal injury, medical malpractice and workers’ compensation law.
“I think it’s a tragedy for all of us who know him to see that he’s gotten himself into this legal mess,” Davis said.
One estimate shows that Gleason owes clients more than $60,000. Davis said his client will try to make restitution but admits it may be difficult now that Gleason is no longer practicing law and earning no income.
Gleason’s former law partner told KETV NewsWatch 7 that clients who suffered losses are working through the Nebraska State Bar Association, which has a special fund to reimburse clients who are impacted by such crimes.
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