In a related civil suit,
The victim, age 62, first contracted with Schmidt to serve as her financial adviser after her husband passed away in 2002, including taking care of her finances and doing her taxes for her, among other things. Over the period of the next 10 years, however, she sensed some things didn’t make sense with her financial transactions, so she obtained an attorney. An investigation ensued that revealed Schmidt had stolen several hundred thousand dollars from her over that time period, according to her attorney.
After the resulting civil court trial came to a close,
The payments add up to more than
In his oral decision, Thimm expressed little leniency for Schmidt’s actions.
“I have rarely seen such aggravated conduct,” said Thimm. “This was grooming behavior by
Thimm went on to say he believed Schmidt fabricated many of the transactions he talked the victim into signing off on, instead channeling the money into his own accounts for his personal use and later calling them “loans” after he was facing charges for his behavior, which Thimm charged was “highly malicious conduct.”
“This is some of the most egregious behavior that I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot of egregious behavior in my days as a judge and a prosecutor,” stated Thimm. “This takes the cake to some extent.”
Although attorneys for both the defense and the prosecution were allowed to deliver comments and rebuttals, in the end Thimm’s decision stood.
Under the terms of the plea deal, Schmidt agreed to pay
If he successfully completes his probation, Schmidt ‘s charges will be converted to misdemeanor instead of felony charges.
Schmidt had conducted business under multiple names, including
“No one is entitled to double or triple that amount of damages,” said Mathias.
Mathias further stated that he believes the punitive damages awarded in the settlement were out of line.
“We think the judgement is a hometown verdict,” he continued, “which often happens in the city of
Mathias went on to say that he still has a high regard for Thimm, despite the unfavorable judgement.
“He’s a reputable judge — but I think his decision in this case was off base.”
The victim’s attorney,
“The judge saw the evidence and understood it very clearly,” attested Cochrane. “He made his decision carefully and thoughtfully and clearly saw that Schmidt misappropriated (the victim’s) money. He gave Schmidt lots of latitude to explain himself, and he came in with his decision based on the evidence presented to him.”
Cochrane said he believes the amount of the settlement was fair and just.
“(Schmidt) took her money and we are going to pursue it on behalf of our client,” he concluded.
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