(09/29/2012)
By Kyla Asbury-Kanawha Bureau/WV RECORD

CHARLESTON - A Braxton County attorney will remain a free man after admitting to embezzling nearly $75,000 from a trust account he was appointed to oversee.

Thomas J. Drake on Sept. 13 was indicted via information on a single charge of embezzlement. According to the indictment, Drake converted $70,798.57 belonging to the ATS Settlement Trust between July 2009 and August 2011.

No details are provided about the trust, and when Drake was made its trustee. The only other information available is that Drake's embezzlement of the funds took place in Elkview.

In exchange for agreeing to plead guilty, Assistant Kanawha County Prosecutor Rob Schulenburg offered to recommend Drake get probation for a term to be determined by Judge James C. Stucky. Also, as a condition of his probation, Drake was to make court-ordered restitution.

As of presstime, Stucky's sentencing order was not available. According to his attorney William C. Forbes, Stucky placed Drake on two years probation.

The amount of restitution, Forbes said, has yet to be recommended by the probation office.

According to the state Bar's Web site, Drake, 36, is a sole practitioner in Gassaway. He was admitted to the Bar on Sept. 26, 2000.


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