'Average Joe' attorney Menard accused of running Ponzi scheme.


Byline: Michaela Paukner, mpaukner@wislawjournal.com

A new set of felony charges filed against the Milwaukee attorney Robert Menard allege he was running a Ponzi schemeand accuse him of stealing about $250,000 from his clients. Menard,who billed himself as a worker's compensation lawyer for the "Average Joe," is already faced with two other lawsuits alleging he had stolen hundreds of thousands from clients and his former business partner.

Menard was charged with six new counts of felony theft, embezzlement and forgery on Wednesday. The 19-page criminal complaint says Menard continued to steal worker's compensation and personal-injury settlements fromhis clients from January 2016 through at least March 2019. The previous lawsuit, filed in July, charged him with the theft of $700,000 from clients from August 2013 up until January 2016.

In both cases, investigators sayMenard was depositing settlement money into a business checking account, rather than a separate trust fund, and then paying himself. He'd then use other clients' funds to pay back those he owed, according to the complaints.

The lawsuit filed this week lists details of Menard's allegedtheft of four clients' settlement funds. Among the alleged victims was a detectiveat the Milwaukee Police Department. The allegations accuse Menard of lying about how much money defendants should receive and told clients he paid expensesbut kept the moneyinstead. In the detective's case, Menard was supposed to reimburse the city of Milwaukee more than $124,000 forhis medical payments and lost work time, buthe never did.

The complaint alleges Menard would also write false settlement breakdowns and even forged client signatures on claims forms. In one instance, an investigator said Menard also had fraudulently notarizeda claim by his office manager.He owes...

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