Disbarred lawyer sentenced to six years for swindling clients

Mark Hayward, The New Hampshire Union Leader, Manchester
·2 min read

Apr. 30—Disbarred Bedford attorney John Allen will spend the next six years in federal prison for swindling clients out of more than $2.5 million, federal prosecutors announced on Friday.

Allen was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Concord, according to a statement issued by John Farley, the acting U.S. Attorney for New Hampshire.

Prosecutors say he funneled client money into trust accounts and then moved the money back and forth between the accounts and into another bank account, eventually spending the money for his personal and business uses. He also created promissory notes using other people's identities.

He earlier pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering.

"John Allen not only stole his clients' money, but he betrayed their trust and violated his obligations as an attorney," Farley said in a statement.

"While any white collar crime is unacceptable, this defendant's actions were particularly reprehensible because he used his status as an attorney to take advantage of his clients for his own personal benefit," Farley said.

Allen specialized in commercial real estate acquisition and development as well as secured lending transactions. The fraud took place over more than five years, ending in October 2109.

Allen also faces a restitution bill of $2.56 million, but it's not likely to get paid.

After his arrest, Allen applied for a court-appointed lawyer, claiming he didn't have the money to hire a lawyer.

And when he didn't appear for his sentencing hearing in February, investigators found he stole a blank check from his girlfriend's father and wrote himself a $10,000 check, prosecutors said. Investigators tracked him down to a Manchester hotel.

Allen provided no written pleadings before his sentencing, a common practice in federal court. A call left for his public defender, Jeffrey Levin, was not returned.

Three victims testified before a judge sentenced Allen, according to Farley's office. John Hauser said he lost $1.5 million to Allen, which amounted to everything, including his house and his income stream. Another victim, Lynda Caza, said she had to delay her retirement because of the losses.