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Attorney Hatmaker pleads guilty to theft charges

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By Deidre Wilson

Campbell County attorney Wesley Lynn Hatmaker pleaded guilty to two counts of theft over $10,000 and three counts of theft over $60,000 in Campbell County Criminal Court on May 11, 2017.

He was indicted on these charges in May of last year.

According to a press release from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the agency began investigating Hatmaker in December 2015 at the request of 8th District Attorney General Jared Effler.

“During the course of the investigation, agents developed information that from April 2009 through November 2015, Hatmaker stole more than $250,000 in funds from the trust account for his clients,” the release states.

“The investigation determined that Hatmaker never returned the money to estates or the victims, and instead used the money for his personal use.”

Hatmaker’s sentence will be determined at a hearing scheduled for June 27.

Hatmaker was disbarred from practicing law in October, according to a press release from the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility.

According to the board, Hatmaker “commingled earned fees in his trust account, utilized his trust account for personal purposes, misappropriated client funds from his trust account, failed to adequately monitor his trust account, allowed his wife to write checks misappropriating funds from the trust account, made misrepresentations to a judge in order to conceal the misappropriations, and failed to communicate with, and diligently represent, a client.”

In an order, the board required Hatmaker to make restitution to three clients in the amounts of $59,438.22; $20,731.82 and $50,000, respectively, prior to any reinstatement.

He was also required to pay $1,578.79 in expenses and costs to the Board of Professional Responsibility.