From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
MONTGOMERY — A disbarred attorney from Walker County was convicted on Wednesday of two counts of felony theft of property.
According to state Attorney General Steve Marshall, disbarred attorney Garve Ivey Jr., 67, of Jasper, admitted to unlawfully taking client funds from his trust account over a period of several years to fund his lifestyle. He pleaded guilty in Walker County Circuit Court before specially-appointed Judge Michael Streety.
Officials said the investigation into Ivey began after the Attorney General’s Office and the Alabama State Bar received multiple complaints regarding theft of client trust funds. A thorough investigation revealed that on several occasions, Ivey would settle cases on behalf of clients that were plaintiffs in personal injury or wrongful death cases. Instead of informing his clients that a settlement had been reached and disbursing to the victims their portions of the funds, he would transfer the settlement money into his operating and personal accounts with the money going to his personal use.
According to officials in 2011, Ivey was disbarred from the practice of law by order of the Supreme Court of Alabama. In 2012, Ivey was indicted by a Walker County grand jury on multiple charges of theft of property. In 2013, Ivey was again indicted in Walker County with two additional theft charges. After many years of delays, the case was specially assigned to Jefferson County Circuit Judge Michael Streety and set to be tried this April.
At Wednesday’s status hearing, Ivey agreed to plead guilty to two felony counts and pay restitution in the amount of $381,515.20. Both counts are class B felonies and are controlled by the Alabama presumptive sentencing guidelines. Sentencing will be left to the discretion of the court and is set for April 29, 2019.
“The victims in this case went to Ivey for help at a time of great need,” Marshall said. “These people were injured in an accident or a family member was wrongfully killed and they were seeking justice. Instead, they were victimized again by the greed of an individual who used his position of trust to enrich himself. This type of conduct erodes the trust that the people of Alabama should be able to place in members of the Alabama bar. It will not be tolerated.”
Attorney General Marshall praised those involved in bringing this case to a successful conclusion, noting in particular Assistant Attorneys General Katie Langer and Chris Moore of his Criminal Trials Division, and the Special Agents of his Special Prosecutions Division. He also thanked the Alabama State Bar for their cooperation in the investigation.