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For Immediate Release
February 24, 2004
Media Contact: 410-576-6357

FORMER SALISBURY ATTORNEY CONVICTED AND SENTENCED FOR FELONY THEFT

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that John Robert Sullivan, age 48, of 820 Riverside Drive, Salisbury, Maryland, was convicted of felony theft on February 20 after he entered a guilty plea in the Circuit Court for Wicomico County. The Honorable Owen Wise, the presiding judge, sentenced the defendant to five years’ incarceration, suspending all but 6 months. Sullivan will serve the 6-month sentence in the Wicomico County Detention Center. The court will allow Sullivan, who is employed currently as a legal researcher, to leave the detention center during the workday and return to jail after work. The Court also imposed a 5-year period of supervised probation with the condition that the defendant pay $60,000 in restitution to the victim of the theft, the law firm of Long and Badger, located in Salisbury, Maryland.

The facts of the case were that John Sullivan joined the law firm of Long, Badger & Robertson, as a partner on May 15, 1995. Under the firm’s partnership agreement, all client fees received by the partners were to be delivered to the general fund of the firm. In the fall of 2001, a secretary was overheard questioning why Sullivan failed to deliver initial consultation fees to the firm account. The office manager examined Sullivan’s fee arrangements and found that Sullivan “wrote off” an abnormal number of client fees, representing that the fees were uncollectible. When questioned, Sullivan admitted taking about $60,000. The theft allegations were reported to the Office of the Attorney General, Criminal Investigations Division by Davis Ruark, the Wicomico County State’s Attorney, after he was notified by the Attorney Grievance Commission.

The Criminal Investigations Division of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office conducted an investigative audit that confirmed that the defendant stole the firm’s money by taking checks and cash fees paid by clients and failing to report the money to his firm. The State further determined that John Sullivan stole the money in a continuing course of conduct from on or about January 1, 1996 until October 22, 2001.

John Sullivan has been disbarred from the practice of law in Maryland.

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