November 2, 2015

Former Attorney in Van Wert Accused of Stealing Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars from Clients

A former attorney from Van Wert was charged with one count of mail fraud for allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from his clients, said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

Charles Allan Runser, 72, advised clients on wills, estates and trusts, served as executor of clients’ estates and served as guardians for clients, according to the criminal information.

Runser illegally obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars from clients in this capacity, by writing checks to himself, falsifying his law firm’s accounting system to create phantom accounts, withdrawing client funds for personal use, selling client securities to enrich himself, misrepresenting the amount of assets in trusts to probate court, and other actions, according to the information.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after reviewing factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, and the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

The investigating agency in this case is the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Lima Resident Agency. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Noah P. Hood and Gene Crawford.

A charge is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.