A retired Chicago judge was stripped of her law license as she admitted to stealing more than $240,000 from her decorated World War II veteran uncle to allegedly buy cryptocurrency, according to CBS Chicago.Patricia Martin was accused of misappropriating funds trusted to her by her uncle, Oscar Wilkerson Jr., and his power of attorney while the honorable Tuskegee Airman was in the care of a nursing home.Martin was disbarred on consent, according to court records filed in the Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday.“She intentionally used for her own purposes more than $240,000 she had agreed to hold for an elderly relative who was residing in a nursing home, made false statements to the physician who held her relative’s power of attorney about the balances in his bank and investment accounts, and did not produce documents in response to an ARDC subpoena,” the court’s Attorney Registration and Disciplinary CommissionMartin had served as a Circuit Judge for the Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois for 24 years before she retired in 2020.She admitted to stealing Wilkerson’s life savings in June.“On December 5, 2022, [Martin] filed an answer to the complaint in which she admitted that she had wrongfully assumed control over Mr. Wilkerson’s property,” according to the record.“She had no authority to use his funds for any purpose other than for his benefit and that she had intentionally deprived him of funds to which he was entitled.”Wilkerson’s friend and true power of attorney Dr. Maceo Ellison had entrusted Martin to help manage the finances before he uncovered the illegal use.The former judge was in charge of looking after his bank, 401k, and social security accounts.Ellison first caught wind of the fraud when Brookdale Senior Living, the nursing home where Wilkerson was living, contacted him in July 2022, court documents said.The facility alleged Martin had not paid for Wilkerson’s care at the home in two months while one of Wilkerson’s bank accounts then showed that “more than $41,000” was owed.Ellison and Wilkerson hired attorney Eric Puryear to investigate Martin’s handling of the senior citizen’s finances and uncovered the substantial missing funds.Martin acknowledged that “the evidence would clearly and convincingly establish the facts and conclusions of misconduct,” according to records.Wilkerson died in February — a day before his 97th birthday — but filed a lawsuit against Martin in September 2022.The state legal disciplinary agency proved the disgraced judge sunk over $110,000 into cryptocurrency from her uncle’s money in her name through receipts.In June, Martin was ordered to pay her uncle’s estate $1.1 million — three times the amount she stole from him — after she continually failed to appear in court and was unresponsive to court orders, according to records.Martin, however, argued that she shouldn’t have to pay the money to her uncle’s estate since he was dead.“The plaintiff’s death suspends the court’s jurisdiction in this matter,” her lawyer wrote, according to CBS.“If you can’t trust a judge, who can you trust?” Ken Rapier, a friend of Wilkerson, told the outlet. “It really upsets me when somebody takes advantage of the Tuskegee Airmen.”Wilkerson grew up in Chicago Heights and left to join the famed civil rights aviators, the Tuskegee Airman, in 1944.The civil rights pioneer was one of the first black military pilots to fight for the United States in World War II before returning to Chicago and becoming a radio DJ.He was the last known surviving member of Tuskegee Airmen in Chicago, according to ABC7.In 2007, Wilkerson was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President George W. Bush.
24 Eylül 2023 - 10:25
Retired Chicago judge disbarred over stealing $240K from her Tuskegee Airman uncle
“If you can’t trust a judge, who can you trust?”
24 Eylül 2023 - 10:25