Former Ashland lawyer sentenced for embezzling

A former Ashland attorney was sentenced Monday to three years in a Rhode Island prison for embezzling money from his clients.

Originally charged with four counts of felony embezzlement, William Craven, 67, pleaded no contest in January to a single count of felony embezzlement and three misdemeanor counts in January. He was sentenced Monday in Rhode Island Superior Court to three years in the Adult Correctional Institute, two years of home confinement and 10 years of probation.

Craven was accused of embezzling from various clients between 1999 and 2004, while he lived in Rhode Island. A plea agreement downgraded three charges in exchange for his no-contest plea in the case in which he embezzled $400,000 from the family estate of Maurice Longo. Longo, who died in 1992, was a house painter who scrimped and saved to create a better life for his heirs, said Bruce Algier, Longo's ex-son-in-law.

Longo met Craven at a Little League game in Rhode Island around the time he was ending a relationship with a long-time family attorney, according to the Westerly Sun newspaper of Southern Rhode Island.

Algier's two children, Corinn and Bruce Jr., and Josh Longo, a nephew of Maurice Longo, were bilked by Craven, he said. All three of the heirs were supposed to receive regular payments of thousands of dollars on their 23rd, 27th and 35th birthdays. Both of the men received a single payout. His daughter received nothing.

"It just burns me up inside," Algier said. "My daughter had to drop out of college because all of (Craven's) checks were bouncing."

Just where the money went remains a mystery, Algier said.

In 2006, Craven put his farmland on Eagle Mill Road, just east of Interstate 5 on the north side of town, up for auction. He'd owned the property since 1994 and once tried to create a vineyard there. According to Jackson County clerk records at the time, there were 13 liens on the property and 11 notices of default.

Craven has one more sentencing phase to face for his crimes. A Rhode Island magistrate will determine Craven's net worth and order monthly restitution, said Algier.

"We're pretty sure he has the money somewhere," he said.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail

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