Don Charles Ball, 64, a resident of Parkville, Mo., was convicted of one count of mistreatment of a dependent adult and one count of passing a worthless check on Jan. 5 in Wyandotte County District Court.
Ball practiced law for many years in Kansas City, Kan.
On Dec. 8, Ball waived trial by jury, and his case was tried to the court. The judge’s guilty verdict was announced Tuesday.
Ball’s law license was temporarily suspended by the Kansas Supreme Court in July 2013, and that suspension remains in effect pending the conclusion of this criminal case. The temporary suspension was requested by the Office of the Disciplinary Administrator, the office which enforces that Kansas Code of Professional Responsibility governing attorneys.
Ball was convicted of using deception to take unfair advantage of a dependent adult’s finances. Ball was attorney for a conservatorship that administered the affairs of a Kansas City, Kan., man who suffered a severe, lifelong-lasting, head injury when he was robbed. The dependent man now resides in an assisted-living group home. The man’s assets were liquidated, and the court ordered Ball to hold the man’s money in trust. Ball could expend those funds only upon further court order and for approved purposes.
When the Wyandotte County Probate Court later ordered Ball to pay out the money he held in trust, Ball issued a check, valued at more than $32,000, that was then dishonored by his bank on account of insufficient funds. The Probate Court held Ball in contempt, the district attorney filed criminal charges, and the disciplinary administrator sought temporary suspension of Ball’s law license.
The conviction for mistreatment of a dependent adult is a severity level 5 person felony. The Kansas Sentencing Guidelines call for a sentence of between 31 months and 136 months, depending upon Ball’s criminal history, presumed to be served in prison. If Ball’s criminal history does not include more than two misdemeanors, the court has the option of approving a sentence to probation upon making certain findings that are set out in Kansas statutes.
For the worthless check conviction, which is a severity level 7 nonperson felony, as the subordinate conviction the sentencing guidelines call for a sentence of between 11 months and 13 months, which can be ordered consecutive to or concurrent with the primary conviction.
The court may also order Ball to pay restitution.