Former Stamford attorney pleads guilty to embezzling $700K from clients, feds say

A former Stamford attorney faces up to 20 years in prison after allegedly embezzling more than $700,000 from clients, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

A former Stamford attorney faces up to 20 years in prison after allegedly embezzling more than $700,000 from clients, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

STAMFORD — A former Stamford attorney pleaded guilty to a wire fraud charge Wednesday after embezzling more than $700,000 from clients, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for Connecticut.

William McCullough, 62, now of Westerly, R.I., operated a law practice in the city for "several years," in part facilitating real estate transactions, before resigning from the state bar in 2019, officials said.

As part of those transactions, McCullough "received funds from clients and knew he was required to deposit those funds in an Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account," then use them as part of his work, officials said.

"In March 2018, the Connecticut Statewide Grievance Committee audited McCullough’s IOLTA Account and found that he had failed to maintain required documents for several years.  The audit revealed that more than $1.27 million was due to clients, but the IOLTA Account held less than $600,000," officials said. "A subsequent criminal investigation revealed that McCullough defrauded clients by using funds in his IOLTA Account to cover funds owed to others, and for his own use."

McCullough allegedly lied to keep the scheme from being uncovered, officials said, including providing a false closing statement.

His clients lost approximately $720,851.05 during the scheme, officials said.

McCullough faces up to 20 years in prison at sentencing, which has not yet been scheduled.

The matter is being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and the Wallingford Police Department, officials said.

Ben Lambert can be reached at william.lambert@hearstmediact.com.