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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. John H. Peck Jr., 51, was arrested on Aug. 11 in New Haven and 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 announced. Peck, of the law firm of Peck & Peck, was arraigned the same day before New Haven Superior Court Judge Richard A. Damiani. Due to the seriousness of the charges, the matter was transferred to Part A court. Peck is scheduled to enter a plea to the charges on Tuesday. For now, he is free on $50,000 bond. William F. Dow III, of New Haven’s Jacobs, Grudberg, Belt, Dow & Katz, is representing Peck in the criminal case as well as in his presentment from the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. Dow said his client’s father recently passed away. “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.” The criminal case involves various legal services Peck provided to 85-year-old Genevieve Padzinski. Beginning in 2002, he managed four real estate transactions for her, according to the arrest warrant affidavit. During those transactions, Peck allegedly diverted the proceeds from the sale of her New Haven property on two occasions to himself. Peck also allegedly applied for a mortgage on Padzinski’s behalf and kept the proceeds for himself. In total, Peck is accused of embezzling more than $250,000 and possibly up to as much as $350,000, from the widow, according to court documents. Dow declined to comment on the specific allegations. Morano’s office began investigating Peck on criminal allegations following a complaint filed by attorney Alan Schlesinger, of Schlesinger & Barbara in Shelton, Conn., on Padzinski’s behalf, according to the arrest warrant affidavit. A civil complaint against Peck has also been filed on behalf of Padzinski. “It’s the most egregious thing I’ve ever seen an attorney do to an old lady,” Schlesinger said in an interview. When Schlesinger was considering whether to take the case, he said, “I couldn’t believe what my client was alleging. There must be a mistake. After reviewing the documents, I was in shock.” The Office of Disciplinary Counsel’s application for interim suspension alleges that Peck “poses a substantial threat of irreparable harm to his clients or to prospective clients.” On April 28, Peck, who was admitted into practice in October 1979, was placed on inactive status, Dow said. New Haven attorney Jonathan Einhorn has been appointed as the trustee for his practice, according to court documents. Padzinski and her deceased husband had a professional and personal relationship with Peck and his father John Peck Sr. since 1948, according to the arrest warrant affidavit. The widow told investigators she trusted the younger Peck like he was “family.” Peck was provided an opportunity, through Dow, to answer the complaint filed with the state’s attorney. “This was declined,” an investigator said in the arrest warrant affidavit. There was probable cause, the investigator stated, to believe Peck viewed the “elderly woman and widow as a source of cash.”

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