LAWRENCE — The allegations that led to the disbarment of once-prominent Lawrence attorney Arthur Khoury in January now threaten his freedom.
Lawrence District Court First Justice Thomas Brennan yesterday issued a summons ordering the former president of the Lawrence Bar Association to appear in court Tuesday to face a charge of larceny over $250 — for allegedly stealing more than $77,000 of clients' money.
If convicted, Khoury, 68, of 15 Bunkerhill St., Lawrence, could serve time in the county jail or receive a sentence of up to five years in state prison and be fined up to $25,000.
Khoury, a former state representative from Lawrence, practiced law for more than 43 years before his July 2007 suspension for allegedly bilking money from the estate of George Abdallah of Methuen, who died in August 2004.
Instead of settling the estate so it could be distributed to family members, investigators said Khoury diverted the money for his own personal and business use.
Attempts to reach Khoury for comment yesterday were unsuccessful. Nobody answered the door at the two-story, wooden shingled house on Bunkerhill street, nor did anyone respond to a note left on his doorstep.
Lawrence police Chief John Romero confirmed yesterday that the criminal prosecution of Khoury stemmed directly from the investigation conducted by the state's Office of the Bar Counsel and the resulting disciplinary action recommended by the Board of Bar Overseers.
"The Lawrence Police Department was forwarded the file involving Mr. Khoury from the district attorney's office for criminal investigation," said Romero, who noted that the Office of Bar Counsel had initially referred the matter to Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett's office.
Romero said an investigation by Detective Sgt. Michael Simard determined "a misappropriation of estate funds, entrusted to Mr. Khoury, for his own use, for which we sought a criminal complaint against Mr. Khoury with the Lawrence District Court," the chief said.