Disbarred lawyer convicted of swindling clients


A disbarred lawyer convicted of swindling clients made a last minute effort to get a better deal at his sentencing, but the judge turned him down, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Tuesday.

Ronald Resnik, 67, of St. Paul, pleaded guilty to four counts of theft by swindle involving the theft of more than $44,422 from his clients, promising to do legal work even though disbarment proceedings had begun against him and during some of the crimes and had been completed when he swindled some of his later victims.

As part of the plea agreement he originally approved, Resnik was to be placed on probation for three years, serve 270 days in the workhouse, make restitution and never hold any sort of legal or fiduciary position.

Thursday, Resnik asked Hennepin County District Court Judge Kathryn Quaintance to alter the workhouse time so he could serve the sentence in segments. Resnik, who was representing himself, said he recently lost a part time job and learned that he would lose some of his social security benefits if he served the sentence. Instead, he asked that he serve 30 days, be placed on furlough to his apartment for a day, then serve another 30 days and so on until the sentence was complete.

Resnik said he would lose everything, such as his apartment, if he doesn’t get his social security benefits and “it will drive me insane.” He added that he is willing to be held accountable for the crimes he committed. His life is destroyed and he has earned it, he said.

One victim impact statement was read in court in which one of Resnik’s clients said he hired him to do an expungement because the client was in danger of losing his job of 22 years. Resnik took the money but did no work on the expungement and the man lost his medical insurance, costing him a large amount of money due to his wife’s illness.

Judge Quaintance said that the government would be paying to house him, so he did not need to receive his social security and many defendants had the same issue. Judge Quaintance sentenced Resnik to the agreed upon sentence of 15 months in prison, which he will not have to serve if he follows the terms of his probation. He also will serve the 270 days in the workhouse all at once.
He also must pay restitution of about $30,000, most of it to the Client Security Board which reimbursed many of the clients Resnik swindled.