EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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December 28, 2012

Haverhill lawyer to face charge of stealing $262K

Mother-in-law's estate may have been mishandled

HAVERHILL — Haverhill lawyer Richard Hayes will face a jury trial Jan. 14 on charges he stole $262,434 from a trust intended for the children and grand children of his late mother-in-law.

Hayes, 60, who lives on East Broadway and has a law office at 1146 Main St., unit 2B, was arraigned in September 2011 after he was indicted by a grand jury on two counts of larceny over $250. He is charged with stealing the money from the estate of his mother-in-law, Margaret Clark, after her death in November 2009. She was 88.

The criminal trial follows the resolution of a civil lawsuit last summer, in which Hayes and his wife Catherine Clark agreed to pay three of Margaret Clark’s other children $335,000, return the deceased woman’s jewelry to them and give up claims to any of Clark’s property, including a home she owned on Martha’s Vineyard.

In settling the civil lawsuit, the Hayes’ also agreed to pay $100,000 back to Clark’s trust and sign documents removing themselves as trustees to Clark’s estate and will.

Richard Hayes and his lawyer, William Delaney, have each declined previous requests from The Eagle-Tribune for comment.

The lawsuit, which also named the Hayes’ business, Cool Moo Classic Fresh Ice Cream in Haverhill, was filed by Clark’s eldest son, Eben Clark of Vineyard Haven, and two of Clark’s daughters, Margaret Towle of Colorado and Elizabeth Clark of Groveland. Catharine Hayes is Margaret Clark’s fourth surviving child. The plaintiffs accused Hayes of stealing “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in money and real estate from them and Clark’s 11 grandchildren.

Specifically, the complaint alleged that Richard and Catharine Hayes took $564,054 they were not entitled to from Clark’s trust from 2005 until the elderly woman’s death. It also says Richard Hayes’ misconduct as Clark’s lawyer, including his failure to pay taxes on Clark’s assets during the time he was overseeing her affairs, cost her other children $542,935.

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