TV lawyer indicted for stealing clients' money

A Dallas attorney was indicted recently for allegedly stealing money from his clients.

Thomas Corea faces four first degree felonies after he was indicted Aug. 27 by a Dallas County grand jury. He is accused of stealing settlement funds from clients' trust accounts, using false information to secure loans and stealing identities to apply for various loans and credit cards.

The indictments are the result of a seven month investigation by the Dallas County District Attorney's Office.

Corea is charged with theft over $200,000, misappropriation of funds over $200,000 by a fiduciary, securing the execution of a document by deception worth more than $200,000 and fraudulent use and possession of identification information. He allegedly stole the identity of another Dallas attorney and used it to apply for a variety of American Express credit cards.

But Corea's arrest on Aug. 30 is not the first time the attorney made the news in 2012. In February, Corea sued a Dallas-area CBS affiliate, claiming the station cost him more than a million dollars in potential business opportunities.

Corea had been hosting a live call-in program, "Ask the Lawyer with Tom Corea," at noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays on station KTVT. He claims the station agreed to a format in which all calls would be answered by a live person and then forwarded to his law office answering service.

According to an article in Hollywood Reporter, Corea "demanded" that set up so that it would not be regarded as any form of legal solicitation.

During the first "Ask the Lawyer" program, more than 1,200 calls came in. Corea then hired a new call center to handle the large volume of calls, but the number of callers substantially dropped off after the first show.

In a suit filed Feb. 29, Corea alleges the station failed to transfer calls for extended periods during the program. He claims an investigation revealed that only 44 percent of the calls actually reached him.

The missed calls cost him at least $1.4 million in potential business opportunities, the suit claims.

He accuses the television station of breach of contract, unjust enrichment, fraud, deceit, tortious interference, conspiracy, deceptive trade practices, breach of special relationship, breach of confidence, unfair competition and negligence.

According to the biographical information provided on the Corea Trial Group website, Corea was born and raised in Southern California. He supported his studies at the University of California-Los Angeles by working as a teamster in a South Central factory. He earned his law degree at the University of California, Hastings College of Law in San Francisco in 1995.

He began a litigation and trial practice in Phoenix, Ariz., where he became involved in federal Indian Law. Corea then moved to Dallas to practice with Bickel & Brewer where he focused on intellectual property and insurance coverage disputes.

Corea Trial Group LLC was founded in Dallas in January 2003.


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