SIDNEY — A former Miami and Shelby County attorney was sentenced Friday to 90 days in jail.
Joshua Albright, 29, appeared in Shelby County Common Pleas Court on one count of forgery, a felony of the fifth degree.
Albright, who now resides in Cadiz, Ohio, and formerly practiced law with Roberts, Kelly and Bucio law firm, was originally charged with five counts of forgery, but the prosecution dropped the other four counts as a part of an agreement reached in April.
According to the grand jury indictment that was handed down in February 2015, on Aug. 15, 2014, Albright knowingly uttered falsified paperwork for custody on behalf of Christopher M. Strunk, which bore a fraudulent file stamp from the Juvenile Court of Shelby County.
For his plea of guilty, Albright agreed to sign an affidavit of retirement or resignation, in which he will discontinue his practice of law.
The hearing in April was scheduled after a request for intervention in lieu of conviction was filed by Albright and his counsel, Jeremy Tomb. The request stated “the events that occurred on or about August, 2014 that led to the forgery charges were motivated by Mr. Albright’s habitual use of alcohol. Additionally, Mr. Albright was suffering from depression with ideations of suicide.”
The request continued to explain why and how Albright satisfied the requirements for this sort of intervention, saying, “Mr. Albright understands the seriousness of the forgery offenses with which he is charged. He is truly remorseful for his actions. The offense resulted from an isolated event, and intervention in lieu of conviction will not demean the seriousness of this offense.”
Shelby County Prosecutor Tim Sell opposed this request, which is what lead to the plea agreement being reached.
Albright is currently spending 90 days in the Miami County Jail on one count of theft, a felony of the fifth degree. In that case he failed to turn over approximately $60,000 worth of contracts to his law firm. According to court documents from Oct. 1, 2013, to about Sept. 11, 2014, Albright was paid for his services by his clients and never turned the funds over to the firm. He entered a guilty plea to the charge in April.
In court Friday, visiting judge on the case Judge Dale Anthony Crawford, a retired judge of the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, asked Tomb, why he wasn’t made aware of the pending case in Miami County when the request for intervention in lieu of conviction was filed.
“When you file a motion of that caliber it is necessary to disclose that sort of information,” Crawford said.
Tomb said there is no requirement in a motion like that to show pending charges, but all attorney’s and prosecutors were made aware of the charges and at one point they looked at consolidating the cases but couldn’t because of them being in separate counties.
Crawford then asked, “where does the theft fit in to the alcohol abuse?”
Albright said the alcohol abuse had nothing to do with the theft and only with the forgery charge in Shelby County.
“This all was truly out of character for me. I simply don’t have an excuse,” Albright said. “During that time I would start drinking between like two and three in the afternoon and continue on through the night. I was very busy, stressed out and just was looking to prolong the time (the falsified paperwork). it was a selfish act and I took advantage.”
Assistant Prosecutor William Zimmerman said in court Friday it is a sad situation, “There is a lot of power and trust given to an attorney and he violated that trust.”
“I agree, I violated that trust,” Albright said. “And now I have a 9-month-old daughter which I have to find some way to provide for. Hopefully I can get treatment for the alcohol and become a role model in her life.”
He also apologized to the court, victims and the community as a whole.
Crawford ordered the 90 days be ran consecutive with the 90 days from Miami County. He is looking at a release date in late December. Upon his release Crawford ordered him to complete community control for three years. He will also have to pay a $1,500 fine.
Reach this writer at 937-538-4825.