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Ex-Sturgis lawyer gets more than 2 years in prison for fraud

August 3, 2021 GMT

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A disbarred South Dakota lawyer who pleaded guilty to wire fraud and other counts for allegedly stealing nearly $144,000 from a dead man’s estate was sentenced to more than two years in prison and must repay the money she stole.

Rena Hymans of Vale, who practiced law in Sturgis, pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud, two counts of money laundering and one count of bank fraud.

Hymans allegedly deposited the inheritance into the trust account of the late Leo Drillig in May 2017 and was supposed to immediately transfer the money to Drillig, but did not. Drillig’s cousin, Doris Powers Lauing, said Drillig was murdered in Germany. Lauing wanted to use the money to bury him with family. She said Drillig is now buried in a mass grave.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Viken sentenced Hymans to 30 months in jail with no supervised release and ordered her to pay restitution, the Rapid City Journal reported.

“You’ve been punished by the state bar, you’re barred from practicing in federal courts,” Viken said in his reasoning for the sentence.

Hymans told the court that she filed for bankruptcy and hopes to work toward repaying the money.