Wayne County lawyer charged with stealing millions from Carhart heiress

(CBS DETROIT) – A Wayne County lawyer is charged after he was accused of stealing millions of dollars from his client, the late Gretchen Carhartt Valade.

David Sutherland, 57, of Grosse Pointe Farms, is charged with one count of conducting a criminal enterprise, two counts of embezzling of $100,000 or more and one count of embezzlement.

Sutherland was arraigned Wednesday in Grosse Pointe Farms Municipal Court and received a $250,000 cash or surety bond. He is required to surrender his passport and ordered to have a GPS tether.

The hearing comes two weeks after Valade died at age 97.

“Mr. Sutherland abused his authority as an attorney and trusted advisor to steal millions from a long-time client and must be held accountable,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement. “Our elderly populations are particularly susceptible to financial exploitations, and my Financial Crimes Division is prepared to hold these bad actors accountable for such egregious and illegal violations of their client’s trust.” 

Authorities say Sutherland was Valade’s personal attorney and trustee. He allegedly used his position to embezzle millions of dollars from her trust, giving himself a series of loans without his client’s permission.

Sutherland is scheduled for a probable cause conference on Jan. 25.