Press Release: 2019-06-24

Methuen Attorney Pleads Guilty, Sentenced to Jail for Stealing From Client Estate

SALEM — A disbarred attorney from Methuen has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to jail in connection with stealing tens of thousands of dollars from an estate she represented, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.

Deborah Anthony, 68, pleaded guilty to Fiduciary Embezzlement (two counts) and Criminal Contempt (one count) on Tuesday in Essex Superior Court. Judge Thomas Drechsler sentenced her to serve 18 months in the House of Correction, followed by three years of probation. Anthony will report to jail on July 22.

The AG’s Office found that Anthony was appointed as the administrator of an estate and received more than $190,000 in estate funds. As the administrator, she was charged with safeguarding the funds, paying appropriate expenses, and disbursing remaining funds to the beneficiaries.

The AG’s found that Anthony never disbursed any funds to the beneficiaries, and instead used the estate funds to pay for her own personal expenses and office administrative expenses. Anthony used more than $25,000 of these estate funds to cover mismanaged funds entrusted to her by two previous clients.

When ordered by the Essex Family and Probate Court in December 2014 to provide an accounting of the estate, Anthony submitted false written statements concerning the use and status of the estate funds.

Prior to her disbarment by the Board of Bar Overseers, Anthony practiced at her law firm in Andover. She was indicted in March 2018.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Edward Beagan, Senior Trial Counsel in AG Healey’s White Collar and Public Integrity Division, with assistance from Ellen Davis of the Victim Witness Assistance Division, Zachary Gregoric of AG Healey’s Gaming Enforcement Division, and the Essex District Attorney’s Office.