A personal injury attorney operating out of the Kirkland area was charged with 17 counts of felony theft earlier this month after investigators discovered he had stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars from his clients over a three-year period.
King County prosecutors say attorney Brian Kirk Boddy settled his clients’ personal injury claims, in some cases even without the client’s knowledge, and deposited the money in accounts that he had access to. Investigators believe Boddy stole approximately $433,500 in total over a three-year span.
When pressed by investigators about his motives for the theft, Boddy admitted that he and his soon-to-be ex-wife “had become accustomed to a lavish lifestyle that generated living expenses of $40K per month,” according to a SeattlePI.com news report.
Attorney Admitted to Stealing Hundreds of Thousands
Sadly for the clients who were victimized by this deceitful attorney, the money that they thought was being used to pay off their medical bills and other injury-related expenses was actually being used to support a lavish lifestyle for Boddy and his ex-wife.
“In many cases Boddy’s theft has left his victim clients financially destitute and hounded by insurance carriers and medical providers for unpaid medical expenses relating to their injuries,” Kirkland police detectives stated in court documents related to the investigation.
Boddy admitted to investigators that he could not afford the lifestyle that he and his wife had become accustomed to, and so he began defrauding his clients to cover the difference.
Victimized Clients Unsure Where to Turn Next
Since the clients’ money was not being used to pay for medical expenses they had accrued over the course of treatment for their injuries, their bills would likely have been sent to a collections agency. This puts these victims in a difficult position, because the money they were entitled to has been stolen from them.
It appears these criminals were spending the clients’ money on their luxurious lifestyle, so it’s unlikely that the clients will be able to simply ask for their money back. Fortunately, these victims do have a couple of different legal options when it comes to attempting to recover their losses.
According to Boddy’s lawyer directory profile on the Washington State Bar Association’s (WSBA) website, it can be determined that he in fact carried liability insurance for his practice. This is significant. Those who were victimized by this attorney could potentially bring a legal malpractice claim against him to recoup their losses.
This unfortunate situation also demonstrates the importance for special programs such as the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection, which “was established for the purpose of relieving or mitigating a pecuniary loss sustained by any client.” According to the WSBA, this fund is meant to cover losses “due to the dishonesty of, or failure to account for money or property entrusted to, any member of the WSBA in connection with the member’s practice of law or while acting as a fiduciary in a matter related to the member’s practice of law.”
There will always be a few bad apples in any profession that will inevitably give that profession a bad name, and this is clearly one of those instances. This scenario also highlights the importance of researching attorneys before choosing to hire them. Those of Boddy’s clients who have been victimized would likely need to consult with the WSBA or another attorney to determine the best legal options for recovering their damages moving forward, which understandably might be difficult to stomach after the ordeal that they’ve been through.