A Rochester lawyer faces possible disciplinary action for allegedly stealing law firm money and a client’s $50,000 wrongful death settlement, which he spent on home remodeling, jewelry and car repairs, according to a petition filed by the state’s lawyer disciplinary board.
Tedman John Heim, 41, is accused of three counts of misconduct, including forgery and false statements, unauthorized use of a law firm credit card and misappropriation of client funds in connection with incidents involving three clients, according to a petition seeking Heim’s disbarment that was filed by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility.
Heim has 20 days to respond to the allegations. The Minnesota Supreme Court will make a final decision on what discipline, if any, is issued.
The petition says Heim, who handled the finances at his law firm, Allen & Heim, took on a wrongful death action after the father of the client died in a motorcycle accident in 2011. Heim negotiated a $50,000 settlement with an insurance company, which then issued a settlement draft to the client.
Heim allegedly forged the client’s signature and deposited the money into his own account. From there, he wrote checks for his property taxes, remodeling costs and the final payment on a jewelry purchase for his wife, according to the petition. When the client attempted to set up a hearing to approve disbursement of the funds, Heim avoided him, the document says. The client then informed Heim’s law partner, Jacob Allen, of his suspicions and they discovered the allegedly missing money and forged signature. Allen told Heim to report himself to the lawyers board. Heim did so and eventually paid back the money.
The petition also accused Heim of using his firm’s credit card to pay for $17,870 in personal expenses, including vacations, meals, electronics from Best Buy and casino charges. In the third case, he is accused of using money from the wrongful death settlement to pay himself and a client in an unrelated case.
Heim, who is no longer with Allen & Heim, did not return a phone message seeking comment. He was admitted to practice law in Minnesota in 1998.