Powder Springs lawyer Robert Bach is facing 25 counts of theft by taking and five counts of theft by conversion for allegedly failing to file bankruptcy papers for people who paid him to do so.
Powder Springs police Lt. Matt Boyd told Patch that additional clients may have not had their bankruptcy papers filed.
“It's possible that we may have additional victims, which is why we've released this information and encouraged people to call if they are, in fact, victims,” he said via e-mail.
But a longtime friend and fellow Powder Springs lawyer said he doesn’t believe Bach, 78, was trying to scam anyone out of their money.
“I don’t think Bob had any ill intent,” Larry White said, adding that be believes Bach simply began to develop the type of forgetfulness that sometimes comes with age.
Bach made his $7,500 bond the day after his Feb. 22 arrest, said Nancy Bodiford, a spokeswoman for the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office. He could not be reached for comment, as three numbers located for him did not work.
White said he began working for Bach’s “very good real estate practice” in the early ‘80s.
They became good friends but would eventually branch out into different practices, this time working mainly with bankruptcy cases.
In 2000, while still maintaining separate practices, they both moved into the location on Marietta Street where White still has his office. In spite of having two different practices, the men would help each other out, White said.
“If a client came in looking for Bob and needed something and I could answer their question for them,” he said, “I would knowing Bob would do the same for me.”
But about five years after moving into the Marietta Street building, White said he began to notice that his friend and fellow attorney was gradually becoming more forgetful.
“When I first started out with Bob years ago, he was a very good attorney and was up until probably, I don’t know, five (or) six years ago,” he said. “Things started going downhill. But he was in here with me and my wife, and we helped him out and kept him straight pretty much.”
It started out with the little things, White said, like forgetting that he laid a file down somewhere, or asking the same question several times.
Bach’s mental issues progressed in the office to where others involved besides White—another lawyer who uses the building and White’s wife, who helps with her husband’s practice—wanted Bach to leave the building, he said. Bach would ask White’s wife periodically throughout the day what day it was, and when they suggested seeking help for his memory loss, he would say that nothing was wrong.
“We were friends, and yes, it isn’t the road I would have wanted to take,” White said. “It wasn’t my idea to kick him out to begin with. At the point in time it happened, I don’t think we had any choice.”
Bach moved his practice down the road to a small strip mall at 4093 Marietta Street. His practice’s name can faintly be seen on a large vertical sign with multiple business names on it.
After Bach moved, White said, “he still had a pretty active practice, so there’s a lot of people coming and going.”
Perhaps, White said, having such a large clientele became too much for Bach to handle, and Bach wouldn’t ask for help. Some of Bach’s customers even came to him, he added.
“We’ve had a number of people come to me, asking where Bob’s at, complaining that Bob took their money and didn’t do the work,” he said. “I think there has been two or three that have actually come in and [asked] me to do a case that they had paid Bob to do.”
Boyd said the initial case was opened last December and is ongoing. He said he could not comment further on the investigation.
“As this case has not been prosecuted yet, I don't want to reveal too much information,” he said. “Our main concern is to let possible victims know that we can be contacted.”
Authorities are asking that anyone with information or who might not have had their requested services performed call Powder Springs police Detective J. Echeverry at 770-943-1616.