Between May 2011 and this past February, Irvine attorney Tuan Thanh Tran represented five separate clients in lawsuits tied to traffic accidents, settling with insurance companies and receiving checks totaling more than $150,000 for his clients.
The thing is, the 43-year-old is alleged by Irvine Police and the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) to have never told his clients of the settlements or the checks.
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Tran, who has been ineligible to practice law in California since June 28, is scheduled to be arraigned in Santa Ana this morning on five felony counts of embezzlement by fiduciary of trust and 11 felony counts of forgery, according to an OCDA statement that discloses the Irvine resident could get up to 15 years in state prison with a conviction.
After getting checks and settlement forms for his clients from the insurance companies, Tran allegedly forged their names on them, keeping the money for himself. One client contacted the Irvine Police Department, which launched an investigation that was aided by documents from an investigator with the State Bar of California, which had also received several complaints about Tran.
He was admitted to the State Bar on Nov. 23, 1999. The State Bar discloses here Tran is ineligible to practice law in California.