Disbarred Lawrence attorney arraigned on charges of stealing more than $900,000

A now-disbarred Lawrence attorney has been arraigned in connection with stealing more than $900,000 from at least seven clients,

Martha Coakley. (File photo by Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe.)   [[SLIDE]]

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said Tuesday.

Phillip Thompson, age 35, was arraigned today in Essex Superior Court on charges of larceny and the unauthorized practice of law, Coakley’s office said in a press release.

Thompson pleaded not guilty to the charges. An attempt to reach his attorney was not immediately successful.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Coakley’s office said it began an investigation of Thompson in 2011. That investigation concluded that Thompson represented clients in several real estate transactions, allegedly failing to pay off loans and failing to give funds to clients who were owed money.

“In one case, Thompson allegedly represented an elderly man and his wife who were seeking to obtain a settlement from their insurance company after their home burned down,” Coakley’s press release said. “When the insurance company issued more than $416,000 in checks jointly to the clients and Thompson, Thompson allegedly converted the funds for his own use and the clients never received any of the money.”

According to investigators, Thompson continued to solicit legal business and represent himself as an attorney after he was suspended from practice in 2010. Thompson was disbarred in July 2012.

Thompson was previously arraigned on larceny and embezzlement charges in Middlesex Superior Court in December 2011, the office of Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said.

Coakley’s office alleges that Tuesday’s charges are related to the open case in Middlesex in that they are all part of a continuing scheme by Thompson, while an attorney, to defraud his clients.

At Tuesday’s arraignment, Judge Timothy Feeley allowed a motion to transfer the Essex County indictments to Middlesex Superior Court, Coakley’s office said.

After his 2011 arraignment in Middlesex Superior Court, Thompson was released on $10,000 cash bail; he is now under house arrest with permission to go to work and to attend Sunday religious services, Coakley’s office said.