Christopher J. Whalley was disbarred in December for allegedly embezzling nearly $190,000 from a client’s estate.
A sign stands in front of Chris Whalley's former office on Pine Street in Ellsworth in this file February 2022 photo. Credit: Bill Trotter / BDN

A former Ellsworth lawyer who was disbarred in December for allegedly embezzling nearly $190,000 from a client’s estate has been indicted in Hancock County.

Christopher J. Whalley was indicted Friday on a Class B charge of theft. If convicted on the felony charge, he faces up to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Whalley, 63, had his license to practice law in Maine revoked two months ago after acknowledging misconduct in how he managed the estate of Wilbur Knudsen, a Milbridge man who died in October 2018. His license was suspended a year ago when a Superior Court justice determined that there could be “imminent injury to his clients, the public and the administration of justice” if he continued to practice law.

He was reported in 2019 to the Maine Overseers of the Bar, who oversees the conduct of licensed lawyers in the state. He transferred $189,375 — more than half of the Knudsen estate’s cash assets of $378,336  — to his business bank accounts, according to documents filed with the oversight panel.

“In these actions, Whalley committed a criminal or unlawful act that reflects adversely on his honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer,” Justice Ann Murray wrote in December in Whalley’s disbarment order.

Whalley’s defense attorney, Walter McKee of Augusta, said Tuesday that Whalley repaid all the mishandled money back to Knudsen’s estate last year, plus interest. He declined further comment about the indictment.

Whalley previously was suspended by the overseers in 2003, again in 2007 and a third time in 2021 for unrelated violations of bar rules.

In 2014, he was charged with assault for allegedly punching a client’s boyfriend, but that charge later was dropped by then-District Attorney Matthew Foster, according to the Ellsworth American.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....