Butte County lawyer facing felony charges

POSTED: 6:27 PM Jun 27 2013

A Butte County attorney is facing charges of theft from an elder and making a false financial statement – both felony charges.

Alfred W. Driscol III, 65, of Chico, is accused of stealing over $80,000 from an elderly couple who had put their money in Driscol's client trust account. He is also accused of causing another client to loan him money based on a false financial document.

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey said his office was notified of these cases by the California State Bar, which has filed disciplinary proceedings against Driscol based on these cases and other matters.

The investigation by the bar revealed that Driscol agreed on Oct. 15, 2009 to keep $100,000 in his client trust account for the elderly couple. The couple recieved some of that original amount back to pay taxes and other expenses but the remaining $87,514 was never returned.

The couple was unaware of the theft until Driscol sent them a letter on Aug. 28, 2012, admitting that the money was gone and he would not be able to return it.

Further investigation found that Driscol had induced a separate client to loan him $40,000 which Driscol secured with stock shares in a business Driscol owned.

When Driscol defaulted on the loan after paying only $7,000, the client attempted to gain the value of shares only to find out the security document given to him by Driscol was worthless.

Ramsey said Driscol has practiced law in the Northstate since 1974. The California State Bar ordered his law license inactive on Mar. 11, 2013 due to their ongoing disciplinary proceedings.

Ramsey said Driscol could face more than four years in prison at the Butte County Jail. butt

Driscol appeared in court on Tuesday before visiting a judge in the Butte County Superior Court. He is expected to enter a plea and set a preliminary hearing date on July 30.