A Vestavia Hills attorney has been arrested on theft charges for allegedly accepting payment for legal work he never did.
The U.S. Customs Service took attorney John M. Wood, 49, into custody when he recently tried to re-enter the U.S. from the Dominican Republic.
Vestavia Hills Police obtained warrants for Wood's arrest on Oct. 8 after getting several complaints from people claiming they paid Wood for legal services that he never provided.
Wood has been charged with theft of property first degree and theft of property second degree. The charges stem from allegations reported from the summer until now, but Wood has been facing problems since 2010.
Wood had a family law practice in an office on Pump House Road, but his license was suspended in 2010 by the Alabama Bar Association. His suspension was based on claims that he took clients' money but didn't do the work.
In 2011, Wood filed a petition asking to be placed on disability-inactive status, putting the status of the claims against him on hold.
VHPD asked U.S. Marshals for help finding Wood, and a VHPD sergeant assigned to the task force learned that Wood was in the Dominican Republic. Vestavia Hills PD contacted the U.S. Customs Service and they put out a border crossing alert.
Wood was apprehended in Atlanta on Nov. 16 and transported to the Clayton County Detention Center. On Nov. 25, he was transferred to Prisoner Transport Services. He is scheduled to be brought to Jefferson County on Dec. 1.
VHPD says Wood could face more charges as the investigation continues. His bond is set at $500,000 due to his frequent trips out of the country.
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