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Arraignment set for former Pa. attorney Todd Dorsett

December 13, 1999|By DON AINES

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - A former Waynesboro, Pa., attorney has waived his preliminary hearing on theft charges and will appear in Franklin County Court for mandatory arraignment next month.

Todd A. Dorsett, 39, of 128 W. Main St., was charged by Pennsylvania State Police in October with four counts of theft by failure to make required distribution of funds. The affidavit of probable cause alleges he failed to distribute a total of $192,042 from three estates and a civil settlement.

District Justice Shirley Shatzer said Dorsett waived his preliminary hearing scheduled for Monday and has been bound over for court on the charges. His mandatory arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 26, she said.

In November 1998 Dorsett was charged with hindering the apprehension of Jacob G. Schaff V of Waynesboro, whom he has previously represented on criminal charges. Schaff, who is still at large, was wanted on a Franklin County bench warrant and for a state parole violation.

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Dorsett and Schaff both disappeared on Nov. 9, 1998, from Dorsett's home. The attorney, who voluntarily had himself disbarred earlier this year, was found in Troy, Ohio, on Dec. 9, 1998, and returned to Franklin County.

The affidavit of probable cause on the theft charges alleges Dorsett diverted money from the estates and settlement to his personal use, including repairs and improvements to properties he owned.

Groups that would have received disbursements from one estate included the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, Waynesboro Hospital, the United Way of Franklin County and the Salvation Army, according to court records.

Because he was a contract attorney representing indigent criminal defendants at the time he disappeared, Dorsett's case is being handled by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office.

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