Former Newport lawyer found guilty of stealing thousands of dollars from client’s estate

Dale Thistle
Dale Thistle(WABI)
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 1:55 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - A jury in Bangor has found a former Newport lawyer guilty of stealing thousands of dollars from a former client.

After deliberating for about an hour Friday morning, the jury found 74-year-old Dale Thistle of Quebec City, Quebec guilty of not paying a $390,000 settlement owed to the estate of Gilman Friend of Newport after he died in December 2010.

Prosecutors say Thistle was entitled to about $94,000.

Friend’s children say they should have received about $290,000 but never got a penny.

The family is happy that justice has been served, but prosecutors say the family may not see any restitution because Thistle does not have anything.

“The part that is so horrifying is how easily lawyers can take a lot of money and actually still be able to keep it. It’s appalling to me,” said Gilman Friend’s daughter, Tracey Friend-Moore.

“The only protection they had was the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection, which is funded by lawyers like myself, who pay an annual fee to try to cover the fraud by other lawyers, when it happens. In this case, the cap on the amount they could recover was just $40,000 for all four of the heirs. It’s dwarfed in comparison to the amount that he should have paid them,” said Assistant Attorney General, Leanne Robbin.

Thistle was suspended from practicing law in 2014, a few years after he suffered a brain injury in a car crash.

Sentencing will take place a later date.

Thistle faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

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