A former Cedartown lawyer was sentenced Thursday to five years in federal prison for defrauding more than 50 clients of their workers’ compensation settlements, totaling more than $1.3 million.
Miles Lamar Gammage, 59, specialized in representing workers who were seriously hurt on the job.
But from January 2008 to January 2012, Gammage, who was recently disbarred, used money from his clients’ settlement funds to pay his expenses, his law firm’s payroll and operating expenses, United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in a press release.
Gammage also settled claims on behalf of clients without authorization, failed to notify clients that he had received their settlement checks, forged signatures on checks and deposited settlement checks into his own account, Yates said.
Gammage continually delayed giving clients their settlements, even offering them “advances” or “interest-free loans” when they began insisting that they needed the settlements to pay medical bills and buy medication.
“This attorney violated the trust placed in him by his clients,” Yates said. “Instead of helping his clients receive the compensation that they were owed and needed for the treatment of their injuries, he pocketed the money, stealing from people who were already hurting.”
Gammage pleaded guilty Jan. 8 to mail fraud. He was ordered to serve three years on supervised release after his prison term, Yates said.
The judge is still reviewing the amount of restitution that he may the victims, Yates said.