Elder Law Attorney Sentenced to Prison for Stealing From Disabled Vet

An Ohio judge has sentenced Cleveland-area attorney Kevin Purcell to 16 months in prison after he was convicted of stealing $262,000 from the estate of a disabled veteran.

Purcell, 62, began serving as guardian to John Kane, an Army veteran who suffered from schizophrenia, in 1993. When Kane died in 2012, Purcell also served as administrator of his estate. Purcell pleaded guilty to stealing the money, attributing the theft to an alcohol problem, according to an article in the Cleveland Plains Dispatch.  He said he began to use Kane’s money for personal expenses after suffering business and marital reversals. "I understand now the harm that I've done, as I've taken that journey from insanity to sobriety,'' Purcell said. 

Kane's sister realized there was a problem with the estate when Kane's funeral bills were not paid. Purcell, who has been practicing since 1981, has agreed not to practice law again and to pay restitution to the estate. According to the Cleveland Plains Dispatch, the Cuyahoga County Common Please Judge Timothy McCormick opted for prison time instead of probation because Purcell needed "a timeout" to be held accountable for the money he stole.

Purcell’s current profile on the attorney rating service Avvo lists his practice as 75 percent elder law and 25 percent estate planning, and notes that he is also certified as an Accredited Veterans' Administration attorney.  Avvo gives Purcell an 8.6 or “Excellent” rating and a perfect score on “Professional Conduct.”

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