Liberty Attorney Indicted for Obstruction of Justice
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Liberty, Mo., attorney has been indicted by a federal grand jury for obstruction of justice after stealing funds earmarked for victim restitution.
Robert J. Young, II, 47, of Liberty, was charged in an indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo., on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. That indictment was unsealed and made public today upon Young’s arrest and initial court appearance.
According to the indictment, Young represented defendant Rodney J. Tatum, who was indicted by a federal grand jury and convicted of mail fraud in connection with the embezzlement of funds from his employer. The federal indictment alleges that Young obstructed justice by embezzling money that was given to him by Tatum’s family for the purpose of paying restitution in the criminal case.
Young allegedly engaged in a scheme to spend restitution funds to purchase a motorcycle for himself, to make numerous cash withdrawals, to make rent payments and to make retail purchases. Young was not able to provide the restitution at Tatum’s sentencing hearing on Jan. 21, 2016. The total amount of restitution not provided at that time was $62,412, which was later paid. The sentencing hearing was continued to March 3, 2016, at which time the court ordered Tatum to pay a total of $442,810 in restitution. Tatum was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison.
Young utilized an Interest on Lawyers Trust Account to accept four separate deposits from Tatum’s wife for the purpose of making restitution, the indictment says. Tatum’s wife also made one deposit into Young’s business account for restitution purposes. These checks totaled $42,412.
In addition, Young allegedly advised Tatum’s wife to draft a check, made payable to Young, as the FBI was pursuing money laundering charges against Tatum and the Tatums’ joint checking account would be frozen. Young allegedly stated he would be able to protect the funds in his business account. Tatum’s wife gave Young a check for $20,000.
During the scheme, the indictment alleges, Young made numerous transfers of restitution funds from the trust account to his business account.
Dickinson cautioned that the charge contained in this indictment is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul S. Becker. It was investigated by the FBI.