ShareThis Page
News

Former lawyer given jail term in $468,000 theft

| Friday, June 13, 2008, 12:00 p.m.

An Allegheny County judge imposed an 11 1/2- to 23-month jail term Thursday on a former attorney who stole nearly $500,000 from the estate of a local civil rights and religious leader.

William C. King Jr., 55, of the Hill District pleaded guilty to taking money from the estate of Charles H. Foggie, a national African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church bishop.

Common Pleas Judge Randal B. Todd ordered King to serve five years of probation, complete 500 hours of community service and pay restitution of $468,724.

King and his attorney said the money fueled a drug habit and was used to pay bills.

"I know the pressures that come with this profession -- a lot have fallen to alcohol and drug abuse," Todd told King. "What bothers me is that this went on for three years before you realized you had a problem."

The money is to be paid back to Foggie's estate, most of which is to go to Livingstone College in Salisbury, N.C. Foggie was a 1936 graduate of the historically black college of about 1,000 students.

"How many kids didn't get a scholarship, didn't get the same opportunities you had because you threw (the money) away for drugs?" Todd said.

During a three-hour hearing, several local religious leaders testified on King's behalf. King is also a pastor.

"My greatest problem is the children of Livingstone College didn't have those opportunities. That weighs on my mind every day," King testified. "I ask for forgiveness. I can't change what I did. I'm sorry."

Charlene Foggie Barnett, Foggie's daughter, called the sentence fair.

"I'm pleased that justice was served, but at the same time it's not easy to be a part of someone going to jail," Barnett said. "I don't think he'll ever make the restitution."

King wrote checks totaling $589,150 from Foggie's estate and deposited them into the bank accounts of himself, his law firm, his wife and others, prosecutors said. King was charged in May 2005.

Prosecutors subtracted $70,425 in attorney's fees that King was entitled to and a $50,000 payment to Livingstone College.

The college initially reported the matter to the District Attorney's Office, but yesterday Nathaniel Jarrett Jr., a trustee of the school and AME bishop, asked Todd to not send King to jail so he could pay back the money.

Foggie served as president of the NAACP's Pittsburgh chapter before his death in October 2000.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me