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Widow was ‘source of cash’ A New Haven, Conn., attorney who surrendered his license to practice earlier this year now stands accused of embezzling more than $250,000 from an elderly client. “It’s the most egregious thing I’ve ever seen an attorney do to an old lady,” said Alan Schlesinger, attorney to 85-year-old Genevieve Padzinski. John H. Peck Jr., 51, of the Peck & Peck law firm, was charged with three counts each of first-degree larceny by embezzlement and second-degree larceny of a victim over 60, Chief State’s Attorney Christopher L. Morano said. William F. Dow III, of New Haven’s Jacobs, Grudberg, Belt, Dow & Katz, represents Peck in the criminal case as well as before the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. Dow said his client’s father recently died. “Lawyers are no different from anyone else. They’re affected by serious illnesses of close relatives or the death of a relative,” Dow said. “Unfortunately, the public sometimes is unsympathetic to lawyers who go through those life experiences.” Dow said his client pleaded not guilty. Beginning in 2002, Peck managed four real estate transactions for Padzinski, according to court records. Peck allegedly diverted the proceeds from the sale of her property on two occasions to himself. Peck also allegedly applied for a mortgage on Padzinski’s behalf and kept the proceeds for himself. There was probable cause, an investigator said, to believe Peck viewed the “elderly woman and widow as a source of cash.” —THE CONNECTICUT LAW TRIBUNE Porn Priority The Miami legal community was stunned to learn that the top priority for new interim U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta would not be terrorism, organized crime, narcotics trafficking, immigration or public corruption. Instead, Acosta has announced, it would be obscenity. Not pornography involving children, but pornographic material featuring consenting adults. Federal and local law enforcement officials, as well as prosecutors in his own office, say there are far more important issues in a high-crime area like South Florida, which is an international hub potentially subject to terrorism, money laundering and other dangerous activities. “Compared to terrorism, public corruption and narcotics, [pornography] is no worse than dropping gum on the sidewalk,” said Stephen Bronis, a partner at Zuckerman Spaeder in Miami and co-chair of the White-Collar Crime Committee of the American Bar Association. Not everyone agrees. Stamping out obscene material has become a major concern for the Bush administration’s Christian conservative supporters. “[T]his is also a form of corruption and should be a priority,” said Anthony Verdugo, director of the Christian Family Coalition in Miami. Acosta, who has said that prosecuting obscenity was a priority for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, did not return calls for comment. — DAILY BUSINESS REVIEW

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