December 2, 2023
Kelly Duford Williams. Picture credit score: Display screen shot,

A just lately disbarred San Diego lawyer who allegedly stole a whole lot of hundreds of {dollars} from her purchasers pleaded not responsible Thursday to grand theft and forgery costs.

Kelly Duford Williams, 36, who ran Slate Legislation Group in downtown San Diego, is accused of taking funds her purchasers acquired in settlement agreements she reached whereas representing them.

A declaration in help of an arrest warrant states that round $280,000 was allegedly misappropriated from eight victims. A few of the alleged victims have acquired partial quantities of the settlement funds they had been due, whereas others have acquired no cash in any respect, the declaration states.

Williams faces as much as eight years and eight months in state jail if convicted of all costs.

She was arrested in Washington state earlier this month and extradited to San Diego this week.

At her arraignment in San Diego Superior Courtroom, Deputy Public Defender Doug Miller disputed a prosecutor’s allegations that Williams fled the state with the intention to keep away from going through the costs, which had been filed in March.

Miller alleged that the D.A.’s Workplace “didn’t make any effort” to find her and supply her with discover of the arrest warrant and costs. The protection lawyer mentioned Williams was working in Washington on a short lived foundation for an occasions and promotions firm.

Deputy District Lawyer Gina Darvas mentioned a U.S. Marshals’ Fugitive Job Drive labored “full time” to attempt to discover Williams, to no avail.

The prosecutor additionally famous there was each native and nationwide media protection of the allegations.

“I don’t understand how she couldn’t have identified that there was a warrant for her arrest,” Darvas mentioned.

Miller mentioned Williams turned herself in when she realized of the costs, however Darvas shared a distinct account.

The prosecutor alleged Williams was arrested in Kirkland, Wash. following an investigation right into a home violence report.

When native legislation enforcement found the San Diego warrant, Williams informed police she was pregnant, so she was not instantly booked into jail, Darvas mentioned. Police arrested her the next day and took her to a medical middle, the place it was decided that she was not pregnant, in accordance with the prosecutor.

Williams was being held on $250,000 bail, however was granted supervised launch by Choose Aaron Katz. Miller acknowledged in court docket that Williams has no funds with which to submit bail and didn’t current a flight threat attributable to her “many, many ties” to the neighborhood, together with her three kids.

The alleged misappropriation of funds led the State Bar of California’s Workplace of Chief Trial Counsel to announce Williams’ disbarment final month.

The State Bar additionally alleged Williams made false allegations in opposition to an ex-boyfriend relating to a toddler’s welfare and had an individual seem in court docket as an lawyer on behalf of her legislation agency, regardless of that individual not being licensed to observe legislation in California.

– Metropolis Information Service