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OLR alleges lawyer defrauded company of more than $150K

A former Elm Grove lawyer faces revocation of his license for two counts of misconduct.

According to an Office of Lawyer regulation complaint filed Feb. 9, the allegations of misconduct stem from attorney James Schoenecker’s business collaboration with Matt Meddaugh and Tom Hagan to create GameMaster LLC, a home entertainment business based in West Allis.

Meddaugh, Hagan and Schoeneker were friends, said J.P. Fernandes, attorney for both Meddaugh and Hagan. In 2012 each had agreed to make a contribution to the company: $30,000 from Schoenecker, $25,000 from Hagan and $25,000 from Meddaugh, according to the complaint.

Schoenecker’s license has been suspended since August 15, 2011. The OLR alleges that, in putting together the 2012 paperwork to create GameMaster LLC, James Schoenecker practiced law while his license was suspended.

The second count of alleged misconduct stems from his management of GameMaster’s finances. The OLR alleges Schoenecker defrauded more than $150,000 from GameMaster from May 30, 2012, through October 2013.

According to the complaint, Schoenecker deposited most of Hagan’s $25,000 contribution into his personal bank account and then began defrauding the company, including charging $28,185.09 in personal expenses to the GameMaster business account, and charging $5,997.47 in nonbusiness expenses to the GameMaster Corporate American Express card.

Meddaugh and Hagan hired Fernandes, who brought in a fraud examiner to examine GameMaster’s financial records.

Schoenecker could not immediately be reached Thursday. Richard Cayo, his attorney, declined to specifically comment on the allegations, but he did say the case was a dispute about partners concerning business management.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2011 suspended Schoenecker’s license for three years. That discipline stemmed from seven counts of misconduct that happened from 2007 through 2010.

According to court documents in the 2011 case, Schoenecker represented his former fiancé, identified in court documents as M.F., in a dispute with a contractor. Over the course of representation, Schoenecker sent her fraudulent bills and stole money from her bank accounts. He also did not disclose to the OLR that he had been charged with misdemeanor theft and two counts of felony identity theft in two criminal lawsuits related to M.F.

Schoenecker also lied and falsified documents in his personal bankruptcy proceeding, according to court documents. He set up his own separate law firm without informing the firm he was already working for, and set up a client trust account that he did not disclose to the State Bar.

Schoenecker earned his law degree in 2004 from Columbia University Law School.


About Erika Strebel, erika.strebel@wislawjournal.com

Erika Strebel is the law beat reporter for the Wisconsin Law Journal and a law school student at UW-Madison. She can be reached at 414-225-1825.

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