A Wisconsin attorney who stole more than $500,000 through a long-running foreclosure scam has been stripped of his law license.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court on December 18 revoked the license of Thomas Bielinski, who pleaded guilty to theft by fraud in 2011. Starting in 2007, Bielinski, 53, tricked judges and court personnel into believing that he was an attorney for people entitled to unclaimed funds held by the Milwaukee County court clerk’s office, according to the opinion. The money represented surplus from the sale of foreclosed homes.
Bielinski, a 1985 graduate of Marquette University Law School who had an office in Brookfield, Wis., engaged in 47 phony transactions. The scam, the court noted, became his primary source of income the court said in an unsigned opinion. “Attorney Bielinski’s conduct caused serious harm to numerous persons, none of whom were his clients, as well as to the integrity of the court system,” it wrote.
Bielinski committed a series of identity thefts, false notarizations, forgeries and thefts of court records, the court wrote. In addition, after receiving payment, he “sanitized the records” by removing his fraudulent pleadings and forgeries from the official court record.
In revoking Bielinski’s license, the court adopted a recommendation by the Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation, to which Bielinski stipulated. The specific ethics rules at issue pertained to conduct leading to a felony conviction and failure to report within five days a conviction to the lawyer regulation office.
The court said that when Bielinski began the scam, his license had been suspended due to failure to comply with mandatory continuing legal education requirements.
Representing Bielinski in the criminal case was Michael Hart of Kohler & Hart in Milwaukee. He did not return a telephone seeking comment.
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