Attorney Sentenced for Stealing More Than $1.3 Million from Injured Clients
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 25, 2013|
ROME, GA—Miles Lamar Gammage, a recently disbarred attorney, has been sentenced for defrauding more than 50 of his seriously injured workers’ compensation clients out of settlement funds they were owed.
“This attorney violated the trust placed in him by his clients,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “Instead of helping his clients receive the compensation that they were owed and needed for the treatment of their injuries, he pocketed the money, stealing from people who were already hurting.”
Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office stated: “While today’s sentencing concludes the government’s case against Mr. Gammage, the enormous damage left behind will be felt by his former clients for quite some time. It is our sincere hope that those many victims of Mr. Gammage’s greed will take some solace in the fact that he has been held accountable for his criminal actions.”
“Criminals such as Gammage, who steal from those looking for help after being seriously injured at work, can expect to be brought to justice,” said Vernon Keenan, Director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigations.
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: Gammage, 59, of Cedartown, Georgia, was licensed to practice law in the state of Georgia from June 1979 through January 2012. He owned and operated The Gammage Firm in Cedartown, where he specialized in workers’ compensation cases and represented people who were seriously injured on the job. From approximately January 2008 through January 2012, Gammage converted more than $1.3 million of his clients’ settlement funds to his own use. He used the stolen funds to pay his own expenses and to pay his law firm’s payroll and operating expenses. Gammage also settled claims on behalf of clients without authorization; failed to notify clients that he had received their settlement checks; forged clients’ names on settlement checks and deposited those checks into bank accounts that he controlled; commingled clients’ funds with his own funds; and refused to provide clients with a full and accurate accounting concerning the disposition of their settlement funds.
When clients asked why they had not received their settlement funds, Gammage blamed the delay on others. He also delayed disbursing any portion of the settlement funds to clients as long as possible. When clients insisted that they needed money to pay medical bills and purchase medication, Gammage tried to pacify them by giving them partial payments, which he referred to as “advances” and “interest-free loans.” By engaging in such tactics, Gammage lulled his clients into a false sense of security and delayed their complaints to law enforcement authorities.
On January 8, 2013, Gammage pleaded guilty to a criminal information charging him with mail fraud. United States District Judge Robert L. Vining sentenced Gammage to serve five years and 10 months in federal prison. He was also ordered to serve three years on supervised release following his prison term. Judge Vining is reviewing the amount of restitution owed to the victims and will announce his decision at a later date.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney Russell Phillips prosecuted the case.
For further information, please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.