A St. Paul attorney has been disbarred for stealing her client’s money and identity, the Minnesota Supreme Court said in an order Wednesday.
Linda Brost, 62, who now lives in Spooner, Wis., stole $43,000 and failed to cooperate in an investigation by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, which filed a disciplinary petition against her in December 2013.
Brost’s troubles started in 2009, when she was suspended indefinitely for using the expired notary stamp of a dead person to fraudulently notarize her own signature on a trust certificate for a client. She later submitted the document to a bank, the petition alleged.
Brost’s theft started with a will she drafted for Arthur Fischbach, who died Sept. 11, 2005. Around the time Fischbach died, Brost altered the date on her dead husband’s expired notary stamp and forged his signature to notarize her own signature on a certificate of trust prepared for Fischbach. After he died, she presented the fraudulently notarized document to BankCherokee in a failed effort to access Fischbach’s funds, which totaled about $140,000.
She also obtained $43,000 from Fischbach’s insurance company by making false statements and stealing his identity.
In March 2009, after learning of these events, the Minnesota Supreme Court indefinitely suspended Brost from practicing law. Brost then allegedly set up an e-mail account in Fischbach’s name and had his mail redirected to a house she owns in St. Paul. She also opened a checking account in his name in February 2011, six years after his death, and wrote letters purportedly from him as she tried to tap his money, authorities said.
Last year, criminal charges were filed against Brost for theft by swindle, identity theft, and aggravated forgery of a document and insurance fraud. She pleaded guilty.
In its order, the Supreme Court wrote that Brost’s misconduct harmed the public and legal profession in multiple ways.