As part of his guilty plea in the federal case, Rancho Santa Fe resident Todd Macaluso admitted that he forged his clients' signatures and used forged notary stamps and signatures to convince potential investors to advance him millions of dollars.
Macaluso, 52, is scheduled to be sentenced July 13. He will be ordered to pay restitution to all of his victims, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
"Individuals who have suffered a personal injury should not have to worry about being victimized by their own advocate," said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. "The defendant's conviction should be a stark reminder that attorneys and other fiduciaries will be prosecuted if they fraudulently misuse the privileges society has given them."
According to court records, Macaluso funded his personal injury law practice by entering into "funding agreements" with various investors. Under those agreements, investors advanced Macaluso money in exchange for the right to collect a portion of his clients' recoveries in the future.
Although clients had to consent to the collateralization of their lawsuits in order for the transfers to be valid, Macaluso concealed those arrangements from many of his clients and forged their signatures on the financing documents, according to prosecutors.
To conceal his scheme, Macaluso also forged the signatures and stamps of notary publics who purportedly witnessed the executions of legal documents, but who, like his clients, had no knowledge of the arrangements.
Students and community members in San Diego County plan to march for gun control today as part of the nationwide "March for Our Lives."
After two mistrials, a judge Friday dismissed felony DUI and hit-and-run charges against an oft-deported Mexican citizen accused of causing a crash in San Ysidro that seriously injured a 6-year-old boy returning home after a day at Disneyland with his family.
Students and community members in San Diego County plan to march for gun control this weekend as part of a nationwide "March for Our Lives."
A stabbing outside a Costco store in Carlsbad Friday left one person seriously injured and an acquaintance of the victim's in custody on suspicion of attempted murder.
Congress gave President Donald Trump the $1.6 billion he wanted this year for his proposed "big, beautiful" border wall with Mexico but the headline number masks what he didn't get on one of his signature campaign promises.
Annual data from San Diego county medical services show an alarming number of local underage drinking deaths.
A man accused of killing his girlfriend -- a mother of two -- in the apartment they shared in the Mountain View neighborhood of San Diego must stand trial on murder and misdemeanor child endangerment charges, a judge ruled Friday.