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Lawyer Charged With Theft--Again

January 07, 2000|RICHARD MAROSI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

In a rare case of alleged criminal misconduct by a local attorney, prosecutors have filed grand theft charges against a lawyer who was disbarred 11 years ago after pleading guilty to similar allegations.

Leonard Dale Basinger, 55, was arrested Thursday at his home in Orange and charged with stealing more than $150,000 from four clients over a two-year period.

His wife, 51-year-old Valynda Basinger, was also arrested on the same charges, according to authorities.

In 1985, Leonard Basinger pleaded guilty to stealing more than $250,000 from his clients' trust funds and his partner's accounts. Disbarred in 1988, he was reinstated by the California Supreme Court in 1991.

"This is the first time in my career that I've encountered an attorney disbarred, reinstated and then charged again with a similar crime," said Orange County Deputy Dist. Atty. Ken Chinn.

Basinger's attorney, Allan Stokke, declined to comment, saying he had yet to review the criminal complaint.

Basinger is being held on $500,000 bail. His wife's bail is $250,000.

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