CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (CN) – A former lawyer pleaded guilty to embezzling $325,000 from a dead client’s trust fund. Joe T. Buerkle, 67, who was disbarred last year, could face up to 15 years in prison.
Buerkle admitted he deposited more than 30 checks from the late Donald P. Thomasson’s account into his own account. The money was meant for Thomasson’s children.State prosecutor Morley Swingle told the Southeast Missourian that Buerkle’s sentence could be affected by how much restitution he can make before sentencing. Buerkle had practiced in Cape Girardeau since 1968.