Lawyer Steals Mortgages to Pay for his Oxy Habit

By Kirwan Gray 06/07/11

$800,000 worth of grand larceny notwithstanding, John Rodia doesn’t have any money or any Oxy.

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Short-term thinking.
Photo via thinkstockphotos

It's fairly common to hear about addicts resorting to burglary in order to ensure their next hit, but John M. Rodia, a lawyer from Connecticut who was also a State Trooper at one time, stole more than $800,000 from eleven of his own clients. He’s a lawyer, the housing market had gone haywire... He apologized in court, saying “I know I’ve hurt a lot of people, but I just totally underestimated how sick I was.” His defense? Oxycontin addiction. And his solution to his cash dilemma was a perfect example of the shortsightedness that afflicts drug addicts in distress—regardless of race, creed, color, or bank account.

Debra Turner hired Rodia on a routine $125,000 mortgage, the Connecticut Post reported—but he stole the money instead. Then Rodia billed her several additional thousand in late fees, which she still owes. Another local man said he had hired Rodia to handle the sale of his parent’s home. The Stratford lawyer pocketed $186,000 from the sale—plus closing costs. Another man hired Rodia to handle refinancing on his condo. Rodia pocketed the $360,000 refi, and the condo went into foreclosure, according to police. And a 63-year old woman injured in a car accident hired Rodia in her lawsuit against the other driver, the Post reports. Rodia secretly “settled the suit for $2,500 and kept the money.”

Superior Court Judge George Thim said: "Taking addictive drugs is not an excuse for illegal conduct, our legal system gave you a license to practice law and protect clients and you violated that trust.” Rodia got nine years in prison on six counts of first-degree larceny. He is not expected to make restitution to his victims, because, of course, all the money is gone.

Perhaps we should add prisons to our Rehab Review page.

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