A Monmouth County grand jury returned a four-count indictment this week naming a disbarred attorney for providing legal services and failing to properly handle a $17,000 settlement, announced Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Kim Andre Fellenz, 58, of Neptune, who was disbarred in 2012 for knowingly misappropriating client funds, was named in the indictment following a direct presentment of the facts to a Monmouth County Grand Jury.
The charges stem from a client meeting Fellenz had on Sept. 17, 2012, seven days after he was disbarred by the New Jersey State Supreme Court. At that meeting, Fellenz met with his victim to get her signature on the settlement papers of a civil lawsuit. Fellenz had the victim sign the document, as well as a Power of Attorney, allowing Fellenz to receive a settlement check for $17,000 and dispense the money according to the settlement agreement. The victim was to receive $11,380 from the settlement.
Due to his status as a disbarred attorney, Fellenz had a responsibility to turn the check over to the Clerk of the New Jersey Superior Court after he received the payment on Sept. 19, 2012. After the victim learned of his disbarment, she attempted to recover her settlement money from Fellenz. On Oct. 17, 2012, Fellenz issued a check to the victim for the full amount of the settlement, however, that check was not honored at the bank due to insufficient funds. Fellenz continued to promise the victim her money, but failed to follow-through, prompting the victim to contact the state Office of Attorney Ethics and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
The investigation conducted by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office revealed the money from the settlement was deposited into Fellenz’s personal bank account was used for unauthorized purposes.
Fellenz is charged in the indictment with one count each of third degree Unauthorized Practice of Law, third degree Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition, third degree Misapplication of Entrusted Funds, and fourth degree Bad Check.
Fellenz is a former attorney for the city of Asbury Park and for the Asbury Park Board of Education.
If convicted of any of the third degree offenses, Fellenz faces a sentence of three to five years in a New Jersey state prison on each count.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Senior Litigation Counsel Jacquelynn Seely.