Special Judge John F. Surbeck, of Allen County, accepted a plea of theft, a Class D felony, from Attorney Juan C. Garcia, Jr. on Thursday, December 27, 2012. Garcia will be sentenced on January 18, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. in Elkhart Circuit Court.
Two charges of theft and bribery were filed by the Elkhart County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in June, 2011. The State agreed to dismiss the bribery charge in exchange for a plea of guilty to felony theft. Garcia admitted to Judge Surbeck that he stole a former client’s funds between 2007 and 2010, depleting a personal injury settlement account that was set up for the benefit of a minor child.
At sentencing, Judge Surbeck will determine the sentence for Garcia. Surbeck can sentence Garcia anywhere from six months to three years on the D felony plea.
Judge Surbeck was appointed Special Judge by the Indiana Supreme Court after Judge Bonfiglio of Superior Court No. 6 recused himself. Judge Surbeck serves as a Superior Court Judge in Allen County.
Before admitting guilt of the Class D felony, Garcia made full restitution repayment to the minor child. According to letters sent to Elkhart County judges recently, Garcia claims to have “retired” from the practice of law. A copy of the Court Order reflecting his felony conviction is being forwarded to the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission.
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