Disgraced, Disbarred Attorney Found Dead
In Minnesota legal circles, a newspaper once wrote of him, David Moskal was "known for several remarkable achievements, including the fastest disbarment in the state's history." Moskal rose rapidly from No. 1 in his class at William Mitchell College of Law to become one of Minnesota's highest-flying personal injury lawyers, earning millions and profiled in the magazine Minnesota Law & Politics as one of the state's "Tort Kings."
The newspaper article I quoted above went on to say: "He made partner by the time he was 33, and soon had all the usual perks: a house with a pool, a condo in Steamboat Springs, a lakefront cabin in a resort area, hefty alimony payments and a jewelry-bedecked second wife."
How far the mighty do fall. Even as Moskal was earning millions, he was stealing millions more from his clients. He was estimated to have stolen anywhere from $1.8 million to $5 million, all of it poured into supporting his luxurious lifestyle. When the thefts were discovered in the late 1990s, Moskal's career as a lawyer came to a quick end. Ultimately, he was sentenced to five years in prison.
After he completed his prison sentence, he moved to Colorado, where he was found dead last week at the age of 54. No cause of death has been made public, but his obituary suggested that memorial contributions be made to two suicide-prevention organizations.
Even after Moskal moved to Colorado, controversy dogged him, writes Mark Cohen at MinnLawyer Blog. While working as a paralegal and client liaison for a spine-injury center, he allegedly passed himself off as an attorney. For that, he was sentenced to another 30 days in jail and had his supervision extended.
Moskal blamed his thefts on clinical depression. But Cohen says Moskal's case will always be a mystery. "It’s impossible to say what inner demons plagued Moskal," Cohen writes, "but they apparently caught up with him in the end."
Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on August 14, 2009 at 11:04 AM | Permalink
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