By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — A judge in Dunn County Circuit Court has found probable cause and has ordered a former Dunn County attorney bound over for trial on three felony counts of theft and forgery.
William R. Lamb appeared in Dunn County Circuit Court with his attorney, Aaron Nelson, for a preliminary hearing on November 17.
Lamb is accused of cashing a forged $10,500 check that was a client’s insurance settlement and is charged with one felony count each of theft in a business setting of greater than $10,000, forgery, and cashing a forged check.
Judge Michael J. Bitney, a judge in Barron County presiding in Dunn County Circuit Court, found probable cause following the preliminary hearing and ordered that Lamb be bound over for trial.
Assistant Attorney General Annie Jay, a special prosecutor from the state attorney general’s office, is representing the state.
Jay filed a criminal complaint in Dunn County on March 5 of this year.
According to the complaint, in April of 2008, Lamb is accused of receiving a check from Bristol West Insurance, forging the signature of his client, Randy Miller, 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.
David Pellett, a retired investigator with the Menomonie Police Department, testified during the preliminary hearing that bank records showed Lamb had deposited the check with his signature and that of his client into Lamb’s personal account but never gave any money to his client.
Theft in a business setting of more than $10,000 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.
A scheduling conference for the Lamb case is set in Dunn County Circuit Court on January 20.
Lamb signed a $5,000 signature bond when bail was set April 22.