By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — A former attorney in Dunn County has been charged with felony counts of theft, forgery and cashing a forged check in connection with an insurance settlement for a client.
William R. Lamb, 53, of Menomonie, is accused of signing and cashing a check in the amount of $10,500 issued by an insurance company for a client, Randy Miller, and then keeping the money.
An assistant state attorney general and special prosecutor for Dunn County, Annie Jay, filed a criminal complaint in Dunn County March 5.
According to the criminal complaint, in April of 2008, Lamb is accused of receiving a check from Bristol West Insurance, forging Miller’s signature, and depositing the check into his own account.
Miller contacted the Menomonie Police Department in January of 2013 to file a complaint and said he had retained Lamb to represent him in a personal injury case.
Lamb had told Miller that his contingency fee was ten percent of whatever settlement they received.
Lamb informed Miller he had received a settlement offer in early 2008 from the insurance company of $10,500, and Miller had authorized Lamb to accept the offer, Miller told investigators.
Over the next four years, Miller said, he had tried to get information from Lamb about the settlement. Lamb repeatedly apologized for taking so long to settle the case, Miller said.
In February of 2012, Miller contacted Bristol West directly and received a fax from the company that included a copy of a settlement check for $10,500 made out to Randy Miller, and his attorney of record, William Lamb.
Miller told investigators that the signature on the check was not his and that he had never seen the check.
Investigators obtained documents from Lamb’s bank account showing the check had been deposited on April 7, 2008, but that there was no record of a check from the account made payable to Randy Miller.
Theft is a Class G felony and carries a penalty of up to ten years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000.
Forgery and cashing a forged check are both Class H felonies and carry a penalty for each of up to six years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
According to a news release from the state Attorney General’s office, Lamb is scheduled for an initial appearance in Dunn County Circuit Court April 15 at 10:45 a.m.