A Bergen County attorney is facing criminal charges that he gave clients a fraudulent payment and a forged judgment.
Craig Swenson, 54, an Oakland resident whose law practice is in Hackensack, was arrested Thursday after clients contacted the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office to complain that he failed to disburse to them the proceeds of a court-ordered judgment, according to a release.
An investigation revealed that Swenson provided the clients with a forged judgment, purportedly issued by a Bergen County Superior Court judge, but no judgment was ever issued, the prosecutor’s office said in the release. Swenson used $14,500 in funds, which were to be held in his attorney trust account for a separate matter, to make a fraudulent payment to the clients to whom he provided the forged judgment, the prosecutor’s office said.
Swenson was charged with one count of misapplication of entrusted funds, with a benefit greater than $1,000 but less than $75,000 and one count of forgery by uttering. Both are third-degree crimes. The arrest followed an investigation conducted by members of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office financial crimes unit, according to the release.
Swenson was served with a complaint and summons and released; he is scheduled to appear in Bergen County Central Judicial Processing Court on Sept. 20, the release said.
A lawyer for 28 years, Swenson was issued an admonition by the Disciplinary Review Board in January in connection with his handling of four workers’ compensation claims for the same client, according to Disciplinary Review Board documents.
In 2008, according to a Disciplinary Review Board decision in the case, Swenson filed three workers’ compensation petitions for James Taormina. The carrier proposed a settlement of $5,000, conditioned on the claimant obtaining approval from Social Security and Medicare. But Swenson failed to do so, and the petitions were dismissed for lack of prosecution, the Disciplinary Review Board said. In a separate claim he filed in 2014, Swenson failed to reply when the carrier sought medical information on Taormina, prompting dismissal of that claim for lack of prosecution, the Disciplinary Review Board said.
No one responded to a message left at Swenson’s office seeking comment on the criminal matter.