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Judge sets $1 million bail for Brookfield attorney

By: Jack Zemlicka, [email protected]//January 10, 2012//

Judge sets $1 million bail for Brookfield attorney

By: Jack Zemlicka, [email protected]//January 10, 2012//

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A bailiff walks Thomas Bielinski into Judge J.D. Watts' courtroom at the Criminal Justice Facility in Milwaukee on Tuesday. Bielinski’s bail was set at $1 million during the hearing. A plea hearing is scheduled for February. (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

A Milwaukee judge set bail at $1 million cash for Thomas Bielinski, the Brookfield attorney arrested in a church last month after skipping two plea hearings.

Judge J.D. Watts on Tuesday morning accepted the bail recommendation from assistant district attorney Kurt Benkley. Defense attorney Michael Hart of Kohler & Hart SC, Milwaukee, said he would not contest the $1 million amount.

Bielinski, 52, appeared in court shackled and did not speak. He is charged with felony fraud for stealing $542,231.61 through a complex foreclosure scam in Milwaukee. He is due back in court Feb. 22, when he is expected to plead guilty.

Bielinski was scheduled to do the same at a Dec. 19 hearing, but failed to appear in court on two occasions that day, after which Watts issued a bench warrant for his arrest.

U.S. Marshals and local law enforcement apprehended Bielinski two days later at Holy Hill in Hubertus and he was held without bond in Milwaukee County Jail.

After the Tuesday bail hearing, Hart declined to comment on why Bielinski failed to appear at the earlier plea hearings.

“Any explanation he gave me,” he said, “would have to stay between us.”

Hart also declined to elaborate on why he didn’t challenge the $1 million bail recommendation.
“I got plenty of reasons,” he said. “None that I can share though.”

Benkley declined to comment on the case, other than to say the state felt the bail recommendation was appropriate, given the circumstances.

Following his initial August arrest on felony fraud charges, Bielinski was released after posting a $10,000 personal recognizance bond.

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