Disbarred attorney receives probation in plea agreement


John C. McBride, an attorney who was disbarred in 2005, was sentenced to two years of probation after admitting in Edgartown District Court that he represented clients while he was disbarred, committed identity theft, credit card fraud, and forgery.

Presiding Justice H. Gregory Williams rejected a plea agreement that called for one year of probation in a hearing on May 10.

As part of the plea agreement, Mr. McBride, 64, of Edgartown, admitted the prosecutor had sufficient facts to prove him guilty if the case went to trial. Judge Williams continued the case without a guilty finding.

In court, Mr. McBride admitted that he forged the signature and cashed an insurance settlement check which rightfully belonged to the victim of a bicycle accident. He eventually returned the $5,000 settlement.

He also admitted he charged a man who anticipated he might be charged with a crime $3,325 in legal fees, though the man was never charged with a crime.The plea agreement included an order that Mr. McBride make restitution to the client.

In a third case, Mr. McBride admitted he found an ATM card, and used it to make four separate purchases in Edgartown.

In a fourth case, Mr. McBride admitted he tried to secure a car loan using the personal information of a client.

In court, Mr. McBride apologized to the court and said he understood the plea agreement might affect his attempt to be reinstated as an attorney.

“The only thing I want to do is get back in the game, and get on the other side of this bar,” Mr. McBride said.

Mr. McBride was disbarred in 2005 after a Supreme Judicial Court judge found misconduct in three separate cases, including intentional misappropriation of his client’s funds.

In 1987 and 1989 he was privately reprimanded by the Board of Bar Overseers, and in 1993 he was publicly censured for misconduct in practicing law.