FAYETTEVILLE - A lawyer who lost his license has been sentenced to five years of probation by Fayette Circuit Judge John Hatcher.

James Scott Rowe will also have to serve 25 consecutive weekends in jail. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to embezzling money from his clients.

In the first count of the indictment against him, he was charged with taking $10,000 from one family and $16,667.67 from another. Hatcher originally ordered Rowe to serve consecutive terms of 1-10 years, but lifted that order.

Hatcher did, however, tell Rowe that he would receive no tolerance on any parole violation.

Rowe's lawyer, Kathleen Murphy, blamed his situation on post-traumatic stress disorder. She said the Sept. 11 attacks triggered something in him that caused him to become addicted to drugs, being a Navy veteran who served in the first Gulf War.

Rowe, 38, was admitted to the state Bar in 1998. Now disbarred, he works as a paralegal for Gordon Billheimer, Sr., in Montgomery. He gave up his license two years ago and underwent substance abuse treatment.

He was also ordered to serve 1,000 hours of community service at the Glen Ferris Public Fishing Area and to speak at Fayette County schools about the problems drugs create.

The Fayette County prosecutor also agreed not to pursue more charges in the plea agreement, even though Rowe was ordered to refund the money of two other clients.

He will pay the estate of Bobby Barber Jr. $10,000, Margarett Pritt $16,667.67, Deborah Niper $41,687.50 and Naomi Mooney and Crystal Petry $7,088.

The State of West Virginia will also be refunded the $1,815.65 in expenses it incurred when Rowe was extradited from Los Angeles County Jail in California.

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