In 2021, she was named “Rookie of the Year” by San Diego Magazine. Two years later, Kelly Duford Williams became a fugitive with the US Marines on her way.
The California Bar revoked Williams’ license to practice in the state and found an arrest warrant on file for grand larceny in San Diego County.
Her fall from grace may seem swift, but complaints of Williams’ misconduct have been rife for at least two years.
A friend referred Kia Vaara to Slate Law Group, a Williams company, when she needed to hire a lawyer.
“She definitely stood up for me and made me feel like I was in good hands,” Fara said, adding that Williams proudly boasted that she was “adamant about women’s empowerment.” She wanted to help her classmate, and I was my single mom and she believed and believed in me.”
Williams won a $48,000 settlement for Fara, who recalled the day they went to court. Williams was wearing a shoe that caught Fara’s attention. Williams thanked her, then said, “You promised me a pair of Prada shoes and I still didn’t get it.”
That’s not the only thing you don’t get. Fara never saw the settlement money.
“She assured me I would get the check in a week, 10 days. That’s when the gassing started.”
Fara said Williams began making excuses, first that she mailed the check to the wrong address, then misspelled Fara’s name. The check, which Williams said was in the mail, never arrived.
After two months, Fara realized she would never get the settlement money, so she began posting negative comments on social media and filed a formal complaint with the California Bar Association.
Fara is not alone. Documents show that another woman stated that Williams also kept the settlement money.
The bar found a total of 16 counts of misconduct against Williams including misappropriation of funds, filing false police reports while using a false name, claiming to be a deputy district attorney and sending a staff member to court to provide counsel.
Williams claims she did nothing wrong.
The hearing officer found Williams guilty of all 16 counts, Chief Counsel George Cardona said, adding that the opinion showed that Williams was not credible and that she had “blatantly lied to the court about certain facts at trial”.
Fara testified against Williams at the hearing. She was overjoyed when she learned that Williams had lost her license to practice law in California.
“I feel like I got a little bit of justice and took a really bad lawyer off the streets,” Fara said.
But Williams is still around. Law practice closed down and disappeared. Fara says she follows Williams on social media and knows where she’s hiding from the grand larceny warrant now on file with the San Diego County Sheriff.
If caught, Williams’ bail will be $25,000.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department told NBC 7 that the case is now in the hands of the US Marshals Service. We’ve reached out to them to see if they’re getting close to Williams, but they haven’t responded yet.
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