KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Former attorney Kent Desselle admitted to a federal judge Thursday he's a thief and ripped off hundreds of thousands of dollars from his clients.
One of those clients, the Sam and Lindsey Porter Foundation, was set up to help build a playground in memory of Sam and Lindsey Porter.
The Independence, Mo., children disappeared in 2004 and their father, Daniel Porter, later admitted he killed them.
Desselle set up the account for the foundation and was the only person who could sign foundation checks, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Kansas City.
Desselle refused to give the children's mother, Tina Porter, any information about the account.
In 2007, Desselle wrote two checks totaling more than $19,000 from the foundation account.
Tina Porter did not approve either check and told Desselle to put the money back.
Desselle wrote two checks, including one labled "balance of investment with interest,'' according to the news release.
The proceeds from that check did not come from an investment company run by Desselle, according to the release. Instead, the money came from his law practice or from money borrowed from family or friends.
"A disbarred attorney took advantage of his clients, including a grieving mother and a friend's widow, to line his own pockets,'' said Tammy Dickinson, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, in the news release. "He abused his clients and he abused the legal system for a client who declared bankruptcy. With today's guilty plea, he will be held accountable for his flagrant misconduct.''
Desselle admitted Thursday he defrauded Nancy Clifton, the widow of a friend of Desselle's.
Clifton received $750,000 in life insurance money after her husband's death, according to the release.
Desselle offered to invest the money.
He lost all the money, but tried to deceive Clifton into the believing the money was safe, according to the release.
He must pay Clifton more than $340,000 in restitution.
No sentencing date has been set.