Las Vegas lawyer faces charge tied to murder case

Updated July 5, 2018 - 7:00 pm

A Las Vegas lawyer faces charges after prosecutors say he acted as an accessory to murder and stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from clients.

William Gamage, 51, faces three counts of theft and one count of conspiracy to commit theft. He was arrested Monday.

His ex-wife, lawyer Amy Gamage, faces the same charges, and a warrant has been issued for her arrest.

A judge on Thursday released William Gamage on electronic monitoring, but Clark County Detention Center records showed that he remained in custody as of Thursday evening.

In May, Gamage was suspended after the State Bar of Nevada said he “misappropriated or mishandled thousands of dollars of client or third-party funds entrusted to him,” records show.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Jay P. Raman said William Gamage stole nearly $180,000 from three clients in personal injury cases between November 2015 and February 2017, including one client who lost $142,000.

Court records indicate that Gamage also was charged this week with harboring, concealing or aiding a felony offender. Raman said that charge is tied to a murder investigation but could not immediately provide further details.

According to a 17-page complaint from the State Bar, the Gamages divorced in 2009 but maintained a law practice together. State Bar officials started receiving complaints about missing money regarding the firm late last year.

After the State Bar subpoenaed bank records, officials found $1,256.16 left in a trust account that should have held at least $250,000, the complaint said. In another trust account set up for clients, officials discovered withdrawals totaling more than $72,000.

“Multiple debit transactions occurred at bars and casinos,” the complaint said.

Gamage also was retained to represent Jeremy Strohmeyer, who sexually assaulted and killed a 7-year-old girl in 1997, on post-conviction appeals, the complaint said.

After Gamage was paid $15,000, he did not respond to Strohmeyer or his family. A staff member at Gamage’s firm later told Strohmeyer’s father that William Gamage was “missing in action” and could not be reached. The lawyer never returned the money, the complaint said.

The phone line for Gamage’s law office appeared to be disconnected Thursday.

His website, which was active Thursday afternoon, read: “Complications arising from an unexpected injury or criminal arrest requires a diligent advocate to advise you of your rights in the hopes of minimizing the costs and impact on your life. … In those times, contact my office as we will undertake your matter and give you the help you need to minimize the effects on your life and your family.”

The Clark County public defender’s office, which was assigned to represent Gamage, declined to comment on the allegations.

Defense lawyer Chris Rasmussen said he has known Gamage, who received his Nevada law license in 2004, for about 14 years.

“I always knew him to be a very diligent and passionate defense lawyer who cared about his clients,” Rasmussen said. “He’s the last guy you would think would be involved in any sort of criminal activity.”

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter. Contact Rachel Crosby at rcrosby@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3801. Follow @rachelacrosby.

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