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Columbia attorney receives 6-month suspended jail sentence in theft scheme

A Columbia attorney received a six-month suspended jail sentence and 300 hours of community service on Dec. 17 after he pleaded guilty to stealing over $28,000 from a client in December 2014 in a theft scheme.

Charles J. Broida, 70, of Ellicott City, was charged with a single count of theft between $10,000 and $100,000. He was also placed on two years of supervised probation following his sentence.

According to the statement of facts provided by Howard County state's attorney's office spokesman Wayne Kirwan, the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission reached out to the state's attorney's office shortly after Broida had been disbarred for the incident that December. In July 2002, Kirwan said, an Ellicott City widow hired Broida to handle the estate of her late husband, which was later approved and closed-out by the Howard County Register of Wills Office in March 2004.

Over the next 10 years, Kirwan explained, the woman forwarded dividend checks of her late husband's Merrill Lynch investment account to Broida, who she believed would reassign the account to her name. The state's attorney's office reported that she was unable to access the funds and then filed a complaint with the commission in March 2014. Following the commission's investigation, they found Broida was using the estate's assets for personal financial transactions between 2008 and 2014.

During the sentencing hearing last week, the victim told Montgomery County Judge John Tisdale that she "received some proceeds from Broida in 2007, and received a second payment in 2014 only after she filed her complaint," Kirwan said. At the end of the hearing, Kirwan added, Broida told the widow that his actions were "inexcusable. I am truly sorry."

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