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Pismo lawyer suspected of embezzlement

William Peter Terhune, 57, of Pismo Beach was arrested Thursday, July 7, 2011, on suspicion of embezzlement and taking property exceeding $200,000. Original story »
William Peter Terhune, 57, of Pismo Beach was arrested Thursday, July 7, 2011, on suspicion of embezzlement and taking property exceeding $200,000. Original story »

A 57-year-old Pismo Beach lawyer was arrested Thursday on suspicion of embezzlement after an investigation into his law practice, according to the San Luis Obispo Police Department.

William Peter Terhune is suspected of misappropriating about $275,000 from one client’s estate, and police say they’ve possibly identified more victims.

Terhune handles “all matters involving estate planning, elder law, conservatorships, guardianships and probates,” according to his website.

Investigators from the San Luis Obispo Police Department, the county District Attorney’s Office and California State Bar served search warrants at Terhune’s residence at 162 El Viento Ave. and his law office at 320 James Way, Suite 320, on Thursday.

They were looking into possible misappropriations of funds on estates that his office was administrating, police said.

San Luis Obispo police began the investigation in December.

Terhune was booked on suspicion of embezzlement and taking property exceeding $200,000. Terhune was in custody in County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail.

According to the jail website, he hadn’t posted bail as of Friday evening.

Terhune became a member of the California State Bar in June 1987 and has been working in the legal field since 1976, according to his website.

The site also states that he was a past chairman of the county Bar Association’s probate section and acted as treasurer for the association’s board of directors for two years in addition to serving on the board.

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