More than $150K awarded to victims of former local attorney accused of stealing $2M

Brian Matthew Wiggins
Brian Matthew Wiggins

Credit: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction

Credit: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction

Clients of a former local lawyer received compensation from a fund that helps victims of attorney thefts after their lawyer pleaded guilty in a case accusing him of stealing about $2 million.

“Former clients of former attorney Brian M. Wiggins were reimbursed a total of $154,175 as a result of Wiggins’ theft of client funds. Wiggins resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, in April 2021,” an article on Court News Ohio says. Court News Ohio is a service of the Office of Public Information of the Supreme Court of Ohio.

The Board of Commissioners of the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection voted to award the money earlier this month, according to the website. The money is from registration fees paid by Ohio lawyers.

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Wiggins was sentenced to serve five years in prison earlier this year after pleading guilty in Greene County Common Pleas Court. He was also ordered to pay back about $1.9 million in restitution.

He is currently incarcerated with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

Wiggins allegedly mishandled several estates or trusts he represented and spent the money on cosmetic surgeries, child support, gambling, property, a boat and jewelry.

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“The bulk of the charges in the indictment allege fraudulent activity related to transfer of estate and/or trust funds from the estate of a man named Ronald Lentz,” Greene County prosecutor David Hayes said during a March 2020 media briefing.

Lentz, of Beavercreek, died in August 2018. Wiggins was the attorney of the estate as well as the trustee of the trust, which were valued at more than $3 million, Hayes said. The majority of the estate was to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Smile Train, a nonprofit for children with cleft lips and palates.