Saturday, September 11, 2010

Catholic Charity Attorney Forges Termination of Parental Rights

Georgia Family Law Attorney Forged Judge's Signature

Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) agents arrested Georgia family law attorney Lynn Swank at her office and charged her with four counts of forgery, two counts of perjury and one count of theft by deception, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Specifically, the Stockbridge lawyer stands accused of forging four separate court orders terminating parental claims and then lying under oath by telling the judge her ex-husband forged the signatures. The orders, required to place a child for adoption were presented to Lynn Swank by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Gail Tuson alerted the GBI in January after she saw her faked signature on the four orders.

Agents claim Lynn Swank was paid last March for legal services that never were performed as promised; so Catholic Charities promptly fired her. Immediately after she was terminated by her client, according to agents, she filed the forged orders with the Fulton County Superior Court Clerk's office.

The smoking gun, it turns out, was an incorrect name on one of the orders. Catholic Charities asked Judge Gail Tuson to review the order, which led to her discovery that they were faked. Pat Chivers, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said the organization was very surprised:

"We had worked with her before and had no problems."

The actual adoptions were not impacted by the alleged forgery and perjury Pat Chivers said.

Digging her hole deeper, Lynn Swank testified under oath that her ex-husband forged the documents; but an investigation found that he actually was out of town at the time. Agents said Lynn Swank was not surprised by her arrest and was taken to Fulton County Jail without incident.

She faced charges of ethical misconduct in 1999 for advising both the husband and the wife in a divorce, which is not legal, without notifying either party. She continued to represent the wife but also was having an affair with her ex-husband.

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