A lawyer accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the trust of the late Carhartt heiress and philanthropist Gretchen Carhartt Valade was arrested Wednesday at Gross Point Farms.
David Sutherland is charged with two counts each of embezzlement of $100,000, one count of embezzlement of $100,000 or more from a vulnerable adult, and one count of conducting criminal enterprise.
Embezzlement occurred in 2019 and 2020, according to criminal enterprise numbers. The criminal complaint is also dated from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2022.
Sutherland “used his legal practice resources to take advantage of his position of authority to embezzle from the client’s irrevocable trust and to defend against money received from the client’s account against the lender, borrower, and attorney.” , and acted as trustee at the same time.”
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Lawyers must surrender passports and wear tethers
The complaint did not specify a specific amount, but Grosse Pointe Farms District Court Judge Charles Burshback said, “The amount claimed is staggering.”
Berschback imposed a cash or bond of $250,000. Sutherland says she has to wear a GPS tether and turn in her passport. Berschback said the accusations were so serious that “additional safeguards” were needed.
Sutherland’s next trial date is January 25th.
His attorney, James Joseph Sullivan, who filed an acquittal petition on behalf of his client, told Burshback that he wasn’t sure Sutherland would be able to pay the bond, adding, “That’s a lot of money…he I don’t know if you can really post it. Judge it.
He said Sutherland was a resident of the area, had no criminal record, and would attend. Sullivan requested a personal bond, Tether did not.
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Carhartt CEO Valade’s son attends arraignment
The Michigan Attorney General’s Office filed the charges. Assistant Attorney General Dan Gunderson said he could not comment on the arraignment that Sutherland appeared in court and was subsequently removed from court by law enforcement.
Each count is a felony for 20 years.
Valade died at his Grosse Pointe Farms home on December 30 at the age of 97. A businesswoman and patron of the arts in Metro Detroit, she was the granddaughter of Carhartt’s Carhartt Inc. founder Hamilton. She still served as honorary chairman of the family-owned workwear company.
His son Mark, the company’s chairman and CEO, attended Sutherland’s arraignment.
“The Valard family appreciates the diligent efforts of the Attorney General’s Office to investigate the conduct of David Sutherland and the filing of these criminal complaints,” said Ron Fournier, spokesman for the Valard family, in a statement.
“They are confident in the legal process and optimistic that justice will prevail and that no other members of our community will fall victim to Mr. Sutherland.”
Known locally as the “Jazz Angel,” Gretchen Vallede created a foundation that allows the Detroit Jazz Festival to establish itself as the world’s largest free jazz festival. At age 74, she founded the Mack Avenue Records jazz label, after which she won 11 Grammy Awards and over 50 of her nominations. At the age of 82, she opened her club Dirty Dog Her Jazz Her Cafe, an award-winning jazz and dinner her Grosse Point Farms.
In late 2022, Wayne State University’s iconic Hillbury Theater building will close and be transformed into a world-class performance hall, the Gretchen C. Valade Jazz Center. Valade donated a total of $9.5 million to jazz research and performance at Wayne State University.
Contact Christina Hall: email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter: @challreporter.
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