Glenwood Springs attorney Bob Richardson disbarred in Colorado
Supreme Court Regulation Counsel John Gleason said a Glenwood Springs attorney got what he deserved after bilking senior citizens out of thousands of dollars with a Medicaid spend-down scheme.
Bob Richardson was disbarred in Colorado Sept. 20 after investigators from the Colorado Supreme Court Attorney Regulation Counsel found he took $26,400 from seniors across the Western Slope.
“He hurt a lot of people,” Gleason said. “We have now reimbursed nearly $30,000.”
Richardson is a former Garfield County commissioner and was a columnist for the Post Independent.
He agreed to conditional sanctions on Aug. 20. They took effect Sept. 20.
Richardson admitted to conducting seminars where he would tell his audience – mainly comprised of senior citizens – that he could protect their assets while making them eligible for long-term health care benefits from Medicaid, Gleason said.
Normally, people can’t receive Medicaid assistance unless most or all of their assets and savings are gone, Gleason explained.
“He would sell these folks on the idea that he could protect their assets and make them eligible,” Gleason said. “We charged him with creating documents, Medicaid trusts, that, as a matter of law, wouldn’t do what he said they would do.”
The money used to reimburse those defrauded by Richardson comes from a Colorado Supreme Court fund that’s put aside for such situations.
“I think it’s important the public knows the Supreme Court has a fund that pays back clients when lawyers are dishonest,” Gleason said.
That fund is financed by a once-yearly $18 fee collected from every lawyer in the state.
Richardson now must pay the fund back for the $26,400 it reimbursed his victims. He also must pay $91 in court costs.
“We are going to immediately start collection procedures,” Gleason said. “The sole purpose of this office is the protection of the public. Our Supreme Court just won’t tolerate conduct like this by a lawyer.”
Richardson said the disbarment means little to him.
“Trust me, it’s not a big deal either personally or professionally,” Richardson wrote in a letter explaining his side of the situation. “If you could comprehend the hypocrisy and politics of the (Colorado) Bar Association, you would readily understand.”
And while Gleason said Richardson could reapply to the Colorado Bar Association in eight years, Richardson wrote that he has no intention of trying to become reinstated.
“I can seek reinstatement after a period of years – it’s not for life – but no thanks,” he wrote.
Richardson admits to being “less diligent than I should have been” in checking out the presentation. He first heard about it from two Colorado Springs men who had been giving a similar presentation for the previous six years.
Richardson insists he didn’t know the trusts he set up were not effective for Medicaid qualification in Colorado.
Richardson theorizes that the motivating factor leading to his disbarment is that he was telling people how to avoid probate. Richardson also said he would have fought the charges vigorously if he weren’t dealing with medical problems of his own.
He called probate “a scandal on a national scale for decades now,” and said he was trying to help people, not rip them off.
Probate, according to an online law library dictionary, is the legal process in which a court oversees the distribution of property left in a will.
“On the hypocrisy and outright theft scale, folks, the bulk of probate attorneys in Colorado are an 800-pound gorilla. I just made one mistake that happened to be both quite public and, more significantly, as it turns out, quite a shot at the famous cash cow of a very greedy association of professionals,” he wrote.
Gleason countered Richardson’s comments.
“The answer to Mr. Richardson’s position is that he’s disbarred,” Gleason said.
For information on the Colorado Supreme Court Attorney Regulation Counsel or its reimbursement fund, go to http://www.coloradosupremecourt.com.
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