Lawyer Suspended For Alleged Trust Thefts Faces New Charges

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Dave Stafford for www.theindianalawyer.com

A suspended lawyer already accused in three counties of stealing money from ex-clients’ special needs trusts has been charged in Indianapolis with allegedly stealing from another victim. The latest charges against Kenneth Shane Service include a count of racketeering.

Service — who already was facing court dates in Delaware, Franklin and Lawrence counties for allegedly stealing from his former special needs trust clients — was formally charged May 29 with Level 5 felony corrupt business influence and three counts of Level 6 felony theft.

The founder and former leader of Carmel-based National Foundation for Special Needs Integrity Inc. has not yet stood trial on any of the charges against him. But the accusations in Marion County assert he made unauthorized estimated withdrawals of more than $43,000 from the trust of a person who was subject to a guardianship.

Authorities say Service withdrew the money from the Marion County victim’s special needs trust between April 2014 and June 2016, including cash withdrawals via cashier’s checks for amounts from $6,500 to $22,100.

The amount of money Service has been charged with stealing from former clients now stands at more than $250,000. Additionally, Service also is accused in civil lawsuits with taking another $100,000 from clients’ trust funds in Allen, LaPorte and Wabash counties.

An attorney for Service was not listed in online court records in the Marion County case, and Service could not be reached for comment.

Indiana State Police have been investigating Service for more than two years, beginning with the alleged theft of $85,000 for a former special-needs trust client in Bedford. ISP investigators said at the time they feared the potential of “numerous victims in multiple states.”

That initial case in Lawrence Superior Court is set for a jury trial beginning July 17, but Service’s defense attorney last month advised Judge John M. Plummer III that a continuance would be requested, according to online court records.

In Franklin County, Service is scheduled to stand trial beginning Sept. 4 after a May trial date was continued. Service was charged Sept. 18 with Level 5 felony theft and two counts of Level 6 felony theft for allegedly stealing a total of $102,564.27 from a Brookville man who was the subject of a guardianship.

No trial date has been set in Delaware County, where Service was charged last June with Class D felony theft for allegedly stealing $23,622 from a former client. A status conference is scheduled for next month in that case.

The nature of Service’s alleged crimes led attorneys to rush to remove him as trustee in estate cases after Service was suspended by the Indiana Supreme Court in June 2017.

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