A former Alameda County judge was sentenced today to five years' probation for stealing funds from his elderly neighbor in the Berkeley hills.
Paul Seeman, 58, initially was charged with 12 counts each of perjury and offering a false or forged instrument, three counts each of elder theft and grand theft and two counts of unauthorized disclosure of information because authorities initially believed he had stolen more than $1 million from Anne Nutting, his neighbor.
But prosecutor Jason Sjoberg said today that investigators ultimately could only prove that Seeman took about $5,600 from Nutting, who died at age 97 in April 2010.
As a result, prosecutors allowed Seeman to plead no contest to one count each of elder abuse and perjury.
Sjoberg said Seeman told investigators he had taken a $250,000 loan from Nutting but he paid all but $5,600 of it back by the time charges were filed against him in June 2012.
Seeman paid back the rest of the money today, Sjoberg said.
Seeman agreed in March to resign from his job and his conviction means that he ultimately will be disbarred and lose his right to practice law in California, according to Sjoberg.
Seeman's lawyer, Laurel Headley, said in a prepared statement that, "He appreciates that the sentence took into account the many good works he has accomplished in his life."
A Democrat, Seeman was appointed a judge by former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in March 2009.
He previously had served as a court commissioner for Alameda County Superior Court and a referee pro tem for the county's juvenile court.