Abilene attorney accused of pocketing settlement money, charges possible

Nancy Edwards' car

A well-known Abilene attorney -- Burt Burnett -- could soon be facing criminal charges for allegedly stealing settlement money from one of his former clients.

District Attorney James Hicks said his office has "accepted criminal charges against Burnett for prosecution." Hicks said he couldn't comment further until "the case is concluded."

Burnett, who hasn't been arrested or indicted in connection with the case, claims he isn't responsible for the alleged stolen money. He said someone employed at his law firm, at the time, is responsible.

The plaintiff, Nancy Edwards, filed a police report with the Abilene Police Department in March. Edwards lives in Clyde and Burnett’s law firm resides in Abilene, so her case falls within the jurisdiction of Taylor County.

Edwards is seeking more than $1 million in damages from Burnett.

The lawsuit, which was filed in January of last year, was filed jointly with her sister and now deceased brother-in-law.

The plaintiffs were returning from a funeral July 3, 2012 when a car accident occurred on Ranger Hill. Traffic came to a standstill and an 18-wheeler rear-ended them.

“This 18-wheeler was coming up from behind us and he reached down to get something out of his ice chest to drink and when he raised back up he was right up on top of us,” Edwards said.

Both sisters suffered serious injuries and were taken via medical helicopter to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.

On July 8, a contract was signed with Burnett calling for him to represent the family and pursue damages from the trucking company’s insurance.

Burnett succeeded and a settlement check was issued later in the year. Edwards and her sister claim they received pennies compared to the amount they were awarded. Edwards says after Burnett’s contingency fees of $400,000, she and her sister and her brother-in-law were entitled to $600,000.

She claims they only received $70,000 after they “pestered him so much.”

More cases have been filed against Burnett, according to records.

One man who lost his leg in a car says the Burnett Law Firm kept his settlement money of $250,000.

In total there are six complaints alleging the same -- that Burnett took money after receiving settlement checks on their behalf. The 10 plaintiffs span across the Big Country and collectively they accuse Burnett of stealing a little more than $2 million.

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