A former Valencia lawyer was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of embezzling nearly $2 million from several clients, including two elderly women.
Bruce Allan Nahin, 49, was charged with nine counts of grand theft by embezzlement, two counts of theft from an elderly adult and the unauthorized practice of law. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the crimes, which authorities said occurred between March 1999 and February 2000.
Nahin's elderly victims entrusted him with their life savings, authorities said. Other alleged victims included entrepreneurs who hired him to oversee the sales and purchases of small businesses, including a gas station.
The Valencia Fairways Homeowners Assn. also retained Nahin to divvy up among its members a $97,000 settlement with its insurer for earthquake damage, Deputy Dist. Atty. Edward A. Miller said.
"He basically just looted those accounts," Miller said. "It was fraud on a massive scale. He is a disgrace to the legal profession."
Nahin, a graduate of Loyola Law School, resigned from the State Bar of California, effective in February 2001, with discipline pending.
He is being held at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in lieu of $2-million bail.
After Nahin's arrest, Los Angeles sheriff's deputies and animal control officers went to his Acton home intending to seize for victim restitution as many as 14 Paso Fino horses, said Deputy Bob Campbell of the fraud unit.
But the animals, owned by the defendant, were malnourished and not as valuable as authorities had believed, Campbell said. They were left at the property and animal control officials were expected to return to care for them.