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Disbarred lawyer charged with grand larceny

Update: (11/18/2010 10:42 a.m.) A question of venue has delayed arraignment for former attorney Kyle Leftwich, charged with pocketing fees while working for a law firm.

A lawyer who surrendered her license last month after she admitted diverting money from her employer, Marks & Harrison, is expected to appear in Hopewell Circuit Court Wednesday in response to a criminal informationcharging her with one count of grand larceny.

Kyle Cornelia Leftwich repaid the firm $450,000 that it contends she took over a seven-year period before the misappropriation came to light in June. Her attorney, Craig Cooley, said Leftwich would not enter a plea but he expected a trial date to be set.

According to Virginia State Bar documents, Leftwich began working as a disability law specialist at the firm in September 1994. Under Social Security Administration procedures, the agency deducts the attorney’s fee from an award to a claimant and sends separate checks to the claimant and the attorney. The check to the attorney is in the name of the lawyer rather than a law firm.

In 2003, Leftwich began diverting some of the fee checks to her own use rather than delivering them to the law firm as she was obligated to do, according to the VSB documents.

The law firm did not file a complaint with authorities as a result of the diversion, but VSB rules require the agency to report possible criminal activity to authorities.

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