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Coldwater Man Charged with Four Counts of Larceny $20,000 or More

LANSING - James Michael O’Briant, 63, was arraigned last week in the 8th District Court in Kalamazoo on four counts of Larceny exceeding $20,000 and two counts of Taxes-Failure to File/False Return after allegedly taking over $100,000 that belonged to a client of the law firm where he was employed, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced. Each count of larceny is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and each tax offense is a felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment.  

The Department of Attorney General alleges that O’Briant, working at a law firm while disbarred, took money belonging to a 95-year-old client of the licensed attorney who worked with O’Briant at the same firm. The licensed attorney had a representation agreement with the 95-year-old victim and had agreed to temporarily hold the victim’s money in the firm’s trust account for safekeeping.

O’Briant allegedly transferred the victim’s money from the trust account to the firm’s business accounts, and then withdrew and transferred the money again to use for his own purposes. These transfers included over $40,000 to O’Briant’s personal investment accounts. O’Briant allegedly did not report the money he is accused of stealing from the victim on his taxes in 2018 or 2019. 

“Michigan residents should be able to trust that professionals will help them safeguard their interests,” Nessel said. “My office will continue to investigate and prosecute those who steal from others under the guise of a business relationship.” 

A probable cause conference is scheduled for August 22nd before Judge Richard A. Santoni in the 8th District Court.


Please note: For all criminal proceedings, a criminal charge is merely an allegation. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The Department does not provide booking photos.

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