A former Alameda County Superior Court judge who pleaded no contest to perjury and elder abuse charges stemming from allegations that he stole more than $1 million from an elderly neighbor while acting as if he was looking after her affairs is now formally barred from ever returning to the bench or working for state courts in any capacity, a judicial panel announced Monday.
Paul D. Seeman, received the maximum penalty the California Commission on Judicial Performance can impose on a former judge. "The severe sanction of a public censure and bar is necessary for the protection of the public and the reputation of the judiciary," its order states. Seeman, a judge since 2009, did not contest the punishment. He is already banned from practicing law in the state.
In August, Seeman, 59, of Berkeley, reached a deal to avoid prison time and pleaded no contest to one charge each of perjury and elder abuse. He returned $250,000 to the woman, Anne Nutting, after learning he was being investigated claiming the money was a "loan." A judge ordered him to return $5,600 to Nutting's estate.
The plea deal took place before any formal airing of the allegation against Seeman, including a preliminary hearing. He was originally charged with 32 felonies.
Prosecutors alleged Seeman systemically siphoned off Nutting's retirement accounts and stole items from her home after he was secured "durable power of attorney" over her assets in 1999 and promised to look after her. Another lawyer working for Anne Nutting eventually found that her assets had been drained away. She died in 2010 at age 97.
Seeman claimed to investigators that Nutting had loaned him $200,000. Among the charges he first faced included failing to report the loan on his annual Statement of Economic Interest, a form top government officials are required to fill out yearly, under the threat of perjury, listing their financial holdings as well as loans made and received.