Lawyer ordered to repay stolen money, do jail time

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Lawyer ordered to repay stolen money, do jail time

BY DAVE HENDRICKS<br>THE ISLAND PACKET
Published Tuesday, July 23, 2002 in The Island Packet  |  497 Words  |  /IslandPacket/news/local

A disbarred Hilton Head lawyer was ordered to serve at least a year in jail and repay the nearly $700,000 he stole from a local family after pleading guilty Monday to breach of trust charges in Beaufort County General Sessions
Court.' Michael Wyman, an island attorney for 15 years before being disbarred by the S.C. Supreme Court in February, smiled casually as he entered the courtroom where the man he defrauded, Carmine Romano, sat anxiously with his
family.' Wyman became somber as his attorney, Mike Macloskie, offered his guilty plea.' "Mike (Wyman) is here today disbarred, divorced, disgraced and absolutely destitute," Macloskie told Judge John Milling, before vouching for
his client's reputation among fellow attorneys as "a good lawyer and a decent man."' Macloskie cited communications from local lawyers supporting Wyman, who said he's lived in his car since being released on bond in March. He asked
Milling to delay sentencing so his client could spend a day with his sick "daddy," whose birthday was Monday.' Judge Milling, a visiting circuit court judge from Darlington given the case after all local circuit judges recused themselves
from sitting in judgment of an attorney who had practiced in their courts, listened patiently to Macloskie before asking Assistant Solicitor Steve Knight to detail the state's findings against Wyman.' In November 2001 Romano gave Wyman
two checks totaling $699,210 to pay off a bank mortgage as part of a real estate closing involving Crabby Nick's restaurant, Knight said. In January, Wyman's check to the bank bounced and all of the money had disappeared.' Romano, a man
in his 70s who spoke in a hoarse, strained voice, said his health, good name, credit and family's financial security were destroyed by Wyman's deceptions. ' A former Marine who said he fought on Guadalcanal during World War II, Romano
called Wyman a "slick lawyer who knew what he was doing from the first moment he met me," and asked the judge to hand down the maximum jail term, which would be 10 years. ' Macloskie said Wyman had naively spiraled into out-of-control
debt, securing one high-interest personal loan to pay off another and ending up in what he called "a fix." ' "I couldn't keep the house of cards standing," Wyman told the judge.' Asked by the judge what he did with Romano's
$699,210, Wyman said he spent it all on sports collectibles. "Baseball cards, things like that," he said.' Milling rebuffed the request for delayed sentencing, giving Wyman a seven-year sentence, five years of probation, 120 hours of
community service and ordering him to make full restitution of $699,210 to Romano, plus 20 percent to the state.' Under the state's nonviolent offense sentencing guidelines, Wyman will be eligible for parole after serving one year and is
not likely to spend more than 30 months behind bars, according to a spokesman for the Department of Parole and Pardon Services.