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A lawyer who, over a series of years, embezzled money from his client's estate to the tune of just under $2 million, was sentenced to 45 months of federal prison. The town of Oxford has won a small victory.
What at first began as a means to prop up his own financial survival became, according to federal prosecutors, a "scheme" conducted over a long period of time by a man who knew better. Peter Clark has been ordered to report to federal prison on February 24, 2016.
Clark's client, Miriam Strong, was by all accounts a rather remarkable woman. She had worked as a Chemist for Anaconda American Brass for more than three decades and was involved in a number of civic programs. She was a Sunday school teacher, a church historian, and sat on the local town Committee for over 50 years. Throughout it all, she lived frugally and put her money away with the intent of giving it away upon her death for charitable purposes.
A Human Lawyer
Strong passed in 2010. She had intended that her estate be used for the building of a new library, scholarships, and other community oriented gifts. They instead ended up in Clark's pockets.
The embezzlement was supposed to be a one-time thing. According to Clark's defense team, Clark intended to use the money to ride out the 2008-10 downturn and replenish the funds later. That never happened. Instead, he lived large with vacations and other outdoorsy recreational fun. Federal prosecutors were quick to contrast this with Strong's own rather frugal, spartan life. Apparently, the vilification worked.