Grand jury indicts Louisville attorney accused of ripping off clients

A personal injury lawyer accused of pocketing his clients' settlement money was indicted on numerous charges Thursday.
Published: May. 30, 2019 at 7:38 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Once the subject of a WAVE 3 News Troubleshooter investigation, a local attorney has been indicted following accusations that he ripped off his own clients.

Andrew Clooney is now facing 35 counts involving multiple victims from different states. His wife, Christel Clooney, and another employee at his Louisville office, Marlene Estrada, also are facing the same charges.

Twenty alleged victims are named in the indictment. The charges include theft and criminal possession of a forged instrument.

WAVE 3 News previously reported on several lawsuits filed against Clooney by attorney Alex White, accusing him of stealing $500,000. At least one of the lawsuits also claimed the signatures on a form and multiple checks had been faked.

Clooney was blamed for settling insurance claims on behalf of his clients, not alerting them about the settlement, then pocketing the money.

"We all feel bamboozled," one of Clooney's former clients, Dawn Knight, told WAVE 3 News. She said she realized someone forged her signature to cash her settlement check after a wreck. It was a settlement she knew nothing about.

“I just want to ask him why, and what makes your life so much more important than the rest of ours?” she said she wants to ask Clooney.

White said he worries there are even more victims out there.

“In one day I think we had probably 25 people call in that said, ‘Hey, I was represented by this attorney Andrew Clooney, I haven’t heard from him in a while, I think he stole my money,’” White said.

In April, one month after the WAVE 3 News story and after receiving multiple complaints dating back to 2017 to the Kentucky Bar Association, Clooney’s license to practice law was suspended by the Kentucky Supreme Court.

According to the court filings, the Supreme Court had repeatedly asked Clooney to file a response to the allegations. That hasn’t happened.

Thursday, WAVE 3 News paid another visit to Clooney’s law office. A maintenance worker said it had been shut down. The office was empty and getting painted.

The Commonwealth Attorney’s Office told WAVE 3 News there was a large amount of paperwork associated with the case. On Thursday, the grand jury came back with an indictment.

Clooney is expected to be arraigned next week.

Knight said she plans to attend every hearing.

“I want him to see my face and look me in the eye,” she said.

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