Judge Charged With Stealing From Elderly Woman

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Paul Seeman, 57, is accused of stealing $1.6 million from a 97-year-old neighbor who is now dead.


Bay City News

An Alameda County Superior Court judge will be arraigned today on charges that he stole at least $1.6 million from a 97-year-old neighbor in the Berkeley hills over more than a decade.

Judge Paul Seeman, 57, was arrested Thursday in his courtroom at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse. He is being held at the Glenn Dyer Jail, which is next door, in lieu of $525,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court at 2 p.m. today.

Seeman, a Democrat, was appointed by former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in March 2009.

According to a probable cause declaration filed in court by Berkeley police officers, who investigated the judge for more than two years, Seeman stole thousands of dollars from his neighbor, Anne Nutting, after her husband, Lee Nutting, died in 1999 at age 90.

The declaration says Seeman sold off Anne Nutting's art collection and other possessions, tried to bar her from her own home and used her garage to store his 1958 Ford Thunderbird.

Seeman initially befriended Nutting in December 1998 after her husband suffered a fall at the couple's home on Santa Barbara Road in Berkeley and police deemed the home to be uninhabitable due to hoarding, according to the declaration. The Nuttings then moved into the Radisson Hotel at the Berkeley Marina.

Seeman offered to help the Nuttings because they were all alone and had no one to rely on because they had no family, no children and no friends, the statement says.

In January 1999, Seeman obtained a durable power of attorney for the Nuttings after finding $1 million worth of stock certificates and uncashed dividend checks in their house, according to the statement.

Lee Nutting died on Dec. 29, 1999, and between April and June 2000, Seeman arranged the sale of two properties the Nuttings owned in Santa Cruz, according to Berkeley police.

By August 2004, Seeman had taken over almost all of Anne Nutting's financial affairs, putting his name on her bank accounts as joint tenant and on her investment accounts as a transferee on death, the declaration states. There was more than $2.2 million in the accounts at that time, according to the statement.

Nutting lived at the Radisson Hotel for nine years because Seeman did not want her to return to her home and tried to get her to move into senior housing, Berkeley police said.

Nutting finally moved back to her home in 2007 and obtained the help of an attorney who revoked Seeman's durable power of attorney and asked that Seeman remove his name from all of her bank accounts and stop handling her financial affairs, according to the statement.

However, Seeman didn't remove his name from any of Nutting's accounts and continued to maintain control over her taxes and safe deposit boxes, according to the declaration.

In March 2010, Nutting's attorney went to Berkeley police and reported that Nutting, who was 97 at the time, was a victim of financial elder abuse at the hands of Seeman, the statement said.

Nutting died the following month on April 17, 2010.

Seeman earned his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law and his bachelor's degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Prior to his court post he worked as a deputy county counsel for the Alameda County Counsel's Office and for many years as a sole practitioner.

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anthony June 16, 2012 at 06:20 AM
A baker's dozen of felony perjury charges on declarations required by his position, I don't see that as unrelated. They weren't all students and they weren't forbidden from campus;( manipulative maybe not sure about scummy), unless there is more than the four I read about. Personally, I think he started out with the best intentions and the lines of service as a favor and service for a fee got blurred. http://www.berkeleyside.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/seemancomplaint.pdf
Bill Gannon June 16, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Does that rambling sob-fest story mention this fool in it somewhere? And nowhere in your post do you mention the stay away order he granted barring those occupy douches, so I guess we are supposed to just know everything you think as well?
Marga Lacabe June 17, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Thanks for the link, anthony. It's pretty interesting. Charge 1 is for the embezzlement from the old lady (though I'd still like more details about that). The other 11 accounts is for not reporting on his FPPC filings the stuff he allegedly emblezzled. Or at least that's what it looks to me after a quick reading. Again, it doesn't look very clean to me. I hate these piling of on charges. I do wonder if this judge pissed somebody off and this is payback.
Marga Lacabe June 17, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Oh, and I should say, Anthony. Those declarations are required by all elected positions as well as many top-government positions (e.g. the Chief of Police, the City manager, etc.). And people omit income from them all the time. There was a big hoopla not too long ago about Justice Thomas doing that. And they don't get arrested for it. Seriously, those charges were just added to give meat to charge 1.
JAMES June 17, 2012 at 05:11 AM
James Albert Wrote: The Corruption is in the Judicial System as well as the Police Agency's as picking & choosing their Crimes and having No Accountability. Question, Why Should the Berkeley Police Department take 2 Years to arrest this Dirt bag Jurist? The Police these days make well over 100K themselves and have No Interest in Public Safety, The overlap of Police agencies is another crime and that's why the economy is unstable, absolutely to much overlap in government process.On all Levels with No production or goal to Serve the Public. Again the Berkeley Police said they have been watching this jurists movement & why No arrest until after the victim is deceased.


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