Disbarred attorney Ronald Resnik pleaded guilty Wednesday to swindling more than $44,000 from clients.
He is not likely to face any prison time for the four counts of theft by swindle when he is sentenced July 19 in Hennepin County District Court. The plea deal calls for three years on probation, 270 days in the county workhouse and restitution to his former clients. It stipulates that he never hold any sort of legal or fiduciary position again.
Resnik, 67, of St. Paul, had law offices in Brooklyn Center. He became an attorney in 1977 and was disbarred in December 2016. He admitted he knew he had been under investigation by the Minnesota Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility since 2014.
That office had disciplined Resnik in 2001, 2011 and 2013. In each case, he was found to have mishandled clients’ money, often by not keeping it in a separate trust account.
From May 2015 to May 2017, Resnik kept a $1,500 retainer he collected from potential clients in criminal, civil and divorce actions and lied to clients about court dates and documents.
But the clients — more than a dozen, authorities said — eventually discovered that Resnik was lying and that none of the work had been done.
When Resnik was disbarred, the court said he forged signatures on settlement checks, agreed to settlements without the client’s approval, falsely notarized a client’s signature and lied to clients, opposing counsel and the court.
The swindle continued after Resnik was disbarred. Resnik admitted to taking money from clients and signing up new clients even though he could not represent them.