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EAST GOSHEN — A disbarred Chester County attorney who authorities contend misappropriated almost $1 million in proceeds from the sale of a house by a couple going through a divorce waived a preliminary hearing in the case Wednesday.

Appearing in court with his attorney, Thomas K. Schindler agreed not to proceed with the hearing before Magisterial District Judge Thomas Tartaglio of East Goshen and have his case transferred to Common Pleas Court, where it will be listed for trial.

The proceeding took fewer than five minutes, as Schindler — an experienced criminal defense attorney who had practiced in Chester County for 20-some years — told Tartaglio that he was voluntarily waiving his right to challenge the case against him on a prime facie basis. 

Tartaglio continued Schindler’s bail, and he remains free pending resolution of the case.

Schindler, 61, of Newlin, well known in the county Justice Center, was arrested in June on charges of theft, forgery, criminal use of a communication facility and related offenses.

Authorities said that in August 2018, a couple in the process of divorcing agreed that the proceeds from the sale of their house would be held in an interest-bearing account controlled by Schindler Law Group LLC., the defendant’s law practice that represented one of the complainants.

When the house was sold in March 2020, $991,405 was transferred to a Key Bank account in the name of the Schindler’s law practice. Throughout the next seven months — until November 2020 — neither complainant received any money from Schindler despite repeated requests to get it.

Schindler was subsequently disbarred from practicing law by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in July 2020 for an unrelated case. On Oct. 19, 2020, a Common Pleas Court judge granted an emergency petition that requested all monies from the house proceeds be transferred to a Pitcairn Trust Co. account shared by the couple. On Nov. 20, 2020, after no money had been transferred, one of the former homeowners contacted the Easttown Township Police Department.

During the investigation, law enforcement discovered a series of deposits, withdrawals, and transfers to and from the Schindler’s accounts at Key Bank, including a $991,628 deposit to the Schindler Law Group’s account in March 2020. It was later discovered that money was moved between Key Bank accounts held by Schindler Law Group and Waterbury Kitchen and Bath, a Kennett Square home furnishing business, where Schindler and his longtime girlfriend, Katherine Wolfington, are co-signers.

The Schindler Law Group LLC account was closed in June 2020, with the remaining $352,564 transferred to an account under Schindler’s name. That account was then closed in July 2020 with money transferred to another Key Bank account. No money was transferred to the complainant’s Pitcairn Trust account.

On March 8, 2021, $170,000 was transferred to the Pitcairn Trust account from a PNC account held by Schindler. To this day, Schindler has failed to transfer over $570,000 to the complainants, although he did repay about $420,000 to the couple, whose name was not included in the criminal complaint.

Schindler is represented by attorney Vincent DiFabio of Paoli.

Deputy District Attorney William Judge is the assigned prosecutor. Anyone with information regarding this case, call Easttown Detective Andrew Tritz at 610-341-9780 or Chester County Detective Keith Cowdright at 610-344-6866.

To contact Staff Writer Michael P. Rellahan call 610-696-1544.

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