Former lawyer given jail term in $468,000 theft
An Allegheny County judge imposed an 11 1/2- to 23-month jail term Thursday on a former attorney who stole nearly $500,000 from the estate of a local civil rights and religious leader.
William C. King Jr., 55, of the Hill District pleaded guilty to taking money from the estate of Charles H. Foggie, a national African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church bishop.
Common Pleas Judge Randal B. Todd ordered King to serve five years of probation, complete 500 hours of community service and pay restitution of $468,724.
King and his attorney said the money fueled a drug habit and was used to pay bills.
“I know the pressures that come with this profession — a lot have fallen to alcohol and drug abuse,” Todd told King. “What bothers me is that this went on for three years before you realized you had a problem.”
The money is to be paid back to Foggie’s estate, most of which is to go to Livingstone College in Salisbury, N.C. Foggie was a 1936 graduate of the historically black college of about 1,000 students.
“How many kids didn’t get a scholarship, didn’t get the same opportunities you had because you threw (the money) away for drugs?” Todd said.
During a three-hour hearing, several local religious leaders testified on King’s behalf. King is also a pastor.
“My greatest problem is the children of Livingstone College didn’t have those opportunities. That weighs on my mind every day,” King testified. “I ask for forgiveness. I can’t change what I did. I’m sorry.”
Charlene Foggie Barnett, Foggie’s daughter, called the sentence fair.
“I’m pleased that justice was served, but at the same time it’s not easy to be a part of someone going to jail,” Barnett said. “I don’t think he’ll ever make the restitution.”
King wrote checks totaling $589,150 from Foggie’s estate and deposited them into the bank accounts of himself, his law firm, his wife and others, prosecutors said. King was charged in May 2005.
Prosecutors subtracted $70,425 in attorney’s fees that King was entitled to and a $50,000 payment to Livingstone College.
The college initially reported the matter to the District Attorney’s Office, but yesterday Nathaniel Jarrett Jr., a trustee of the school and AME bishop, asked Todd to not send King to jail so he could pay back the money.
Foggie served as president of the NAACP’s Pittsburgh chapter before his death in October 2000.