SIDNEY — The indictment and plea of an area attorney came out of no where on Wednesday after the investigation into the incident was handed over to a special prosecutor about two and a half years ago.
Christopher Ramon Bucio, of Troy, a partner of Roberts, Kelly & Bucio, LLP, with several offices in the area, appeared in Shelby County Common Pleas Court to enter a guilty plea to one count of unauthorized use of property, a felony of the fourth-degree. He waived a formal grand jury indictment, and entered the plea to a bill of information.
According to court records he, “unlawfully did knowingly use or operate a 22 acre parcel of farmland in Shelby County, Ohio, of Linda Heuker without the consent of the owner or person authorized to give consent and unauthorized use of property is committed for the purpose of devising or executing a scheme to defraud or to obtain property or services and the value of the property or services or the loss to the victim is $5,o00 or more and is less than $100,000.”
In April he faced a disciplinary hearing dealing with the same issue before The Ohio Supreme Court’s Board of Professional Conduct. Although nothing came about from that hearing discipline wise.
According to the complaint leading to the hearing, in August 2010, Heucker used her land to have Bucio represent her in a felony case against her. She signed a General Warranty Deed, transferring her land to Bucio’s law firm.
Heuker believed that she was transferring her farmland to Bucio for payment of his attorney fees; that Bucio would sell the farmland; that he would deduct his attorney fees and any costs/expenses associated with the sale of the farmland from the sale proceeds; and that he would provide her with the remainder of the sale proceeds.
On Nov. 1, 2010, the property was sold by Bucio’s firm for $135,000. Heuker was not advised of the sale.
On June 5, 2012, Heuker filed a complaint in the Shelby County Court of Common Pleas raising 12 counts, including: legal malpractice for excessive fees charged and collected, breach of contract concerning the legal fee, civil conspiracy to hide the value of the property from Heuker, and malpractice for the failure to return unearned fees.
Common pleas court sided with Bucio and his law firm, and when Heuker appealed the decision, the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s decision.
For the unauthorized use of property charge he is facing up to 18 months in prison, a $5,000 fine, and a discretionary three years of probation, none of which is mandatory. The conditions of the plea include suggested probation because of his lack of prior record, and that the special prosecutor will not file or seek to file additional charges related to his representation of Heuker, or the issues directly arising out of it which have been investigated.
According to the Supreme Court of Ohio’s website he is still in good standing as a licensed attorney in the state of Ohio. There is no word as to whether this will effect his practice as an attorney.
No date for his sentencing has been scheduled at this time.
Reach this writer at 937-538-4825; Follow the SDN on Facebook and Twitter @sidneydailynews