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Longtime Fairfax lawyer pleads to embezzlement

A Fairfax County lawyer in practice for nearly four decades has been convicted of stealing money from a client, an elderly widow.

James G. Kincheloe, Jr., 66, of Fauquier County pleaded guilty Thursday to embezzling funds from the client and the client’s estate, according to Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring.

Kincheloe entered an Alford plea, in which he admitted that the evidence of his guilt was overwhelming, according to a Herring news release. The plea was accepted by Fairfax County Circuit Judge Jane Marum Roush.

According to a statement of facts presented in open court, the evidence showed that Kincheloe embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from his 90-year-old client, and later, from the client’s estate, over approximately three years, the release said.

Kincheloe and his wife, Heidi Pender Kincheloe, were charged in April. Kincheloe faced eight counts of embezzlement and his wife was named in three of those counts.

The wife’s charges reportedly remain pending.

Kincheloe was accused in civil proceedings of taking more than $778,000 from the finances of client Pearl Buckley and her deceased husband.

Roush will determine the final amount of the victim’s loss, and Kincheloe will be sentenced on August 15, the release said. Embezzlement carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Sentencing in the case may provide an opportunity to sort out how much various parties receive from Kincheloe’s assets. Kincheloe was named in judgments in 2011 totaling $456,500 based on findings of legal malpractice and fraud arising from his handling of a divorce case.

The criminal case was investigated by the Fairfax County Police Department and presented to the Northern Virginia multi-jurisdiction grand jury. Assistant Attorney General Marc J. Birnbaum is prosecuting the case.

Kincheloe remains active and in good standing with the Virginia State Bar, but Bar Counsel Edward L. Davis said he expects the VSB Disciplinary Board soon will act to summarily suspend Kincheloe’s license based on his conviction.

Under VSB procedures, Kincheloe then will be asked to show why his license should not be suspended or revoked.

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