Pismo attorney pleads not guilty in grand theft case
July 15, 2011
By LISA RIZZO
The Pismo Beach attorney accused of embezzling more than a quarter-million dollars from a deceased client’s estate entered a not guilty plea Tuesday.
William Peter Terhune pleaded not guilty to charges of two counts of grand theft by embezzlement and preparing false documentary evidence.
The estate lawyer was arrested July 7 while his James Way, Pismo Beach office was seized by the State Bar of California.
Terhune is accused of transferring nearly $275,000 from the estate of Junko S. Hensling to his private business account. The estate’s beneficiary resides in Japan and has yet to receive any payments, according to a petition filed by the State Bar.
Previously in response to a complaint filed by his former paralegal on behalf of the Japanese beneficiary, the attorney contended the funds were transferred for loans that were intended as investments for the estate, according to documents received from the State Bar.
Terhune has not posted the required $1 million bail; rather he remains in custody at the San Luis Obispo County Jail awaiting a bail reduction hearing, which is scheduled for Monday.