Michael Kwasnik, a 47 year old Philadelphia estate planning lawyer, has been charged with scamming 73 clients of over $8 million over a period of years. Defrauded clients were from all different states, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Florida, and Delaware. He is facing both civil lawsuits and criminal charges for defrauding and mishandling client's funds.
Kwasnik, as an estate planner, was entrusted with millions from his clients, which he stated was being held in a separate account under the law firm. However, while the funds were deposited in such an account, the lawyer would eventually draw out the funds for his and his own family's benefit.
The charges come as many investors have very low trust levels for financial advisors, especially in the aftermath of the Bernie Madoff ponzi scandal. Investors are urged to investigate the background of estate planning professionals, however many times it is difficult to identify a ponzi scheme until the funds are depleted.