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A lawyer joke

Here’s a tip: Just because you went to law school does not make you a smart person. I know plenty of idiots who practiced law, and many times their names would show up in the Bar Journals in the “Offenses and Suspensions” section. Making honest mistakes when you’re starting out is one thing. But if you’ve practiced for 25 years and you’re still this stupid, you should be shot. Moron.

MIAMI — A former South Florida lawyer has pleaded guilty to stealing $300,000 from a client, and she said she lost the money in an e-mail scam.

Knovack Jones, a lawyer for nearly 25 years and a former prosecutor, is accused of stealing the inheritance of the English family. Jones was the lawyer for the estate of Pauline English, a nurse who died in 2001, leaving an estate of nearly $400,000.

About $300,000 of that inheritance is now gone. Jones testified that the money was funneled into a variation on the Nigerian e-mail scams.

Jones, who has since been disbarred, pleaded guilty to one count of grand theft and one count of forgery. Prosecutors are asking that Jones be sentenced to nine years in prison.

“I’m here to humbly ask the court’s mercy,” Jones said in court on Monday.

Jones said a Nigerian doctor contacted her in 2001.

“He had a contract with the government of $38.6 million, and he needed my participation,” Jones said.

The pitch was typical: Put up a little money in return for eventual millions.

Jones testified that she took $300,000 from the English’s trust account, hoping to reimburse it quickly.

“I was not thinking clearly,” Jones said.

Prosecutor Gail Levine said the whole scam story is irrelevant.

“How she spent it — if she spent it partially on herself and partially on her family, if she spent it all on herself, if she chose to go to Las Vegas and gamble it for $12 million — it really isn’t relevant,” Levine said.

“It’s not like I was a part of this or that it was planned or calculated,” Jones said.

Because Jones is broke and disbarred, she is on a modest payback schedule. English’s family would get its money in 20 years under the schedule.

The prosecutor said Jones has already skipped some payments in the last few months.

“She lied to us on several occasions, looked us straight in the eye and lied to us about information on this case. I think she should go to jail,” said Michael English, a family member.

The prosecutor grilled Jones, asking how she could be so naïve and so careless. Jones said the scammers were very good and that she was stressed out over work and distraught over her husband’s bout with cancer.

Sentencing is expected within the next couple of weeks.

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