Lawyers

Expenses dropped in case in opposition to lawyer charged with forgery

SALEM — A judge on Monday dismissed forgery charges against a former Salem man who was accused of forging his late father’s signature on a deed transferring a property to himself shortly after the older man’s death — charges the man’s attorney has maintained made no sense, given that the property was in foreclosure.

Michael Brophy, an attorney who stood to lose his license to practice law if convicted, was accused back in 2019 by his now-former wife.

Theresa Brophy, who was in the process of divorcing her husband, told an assistant deed register that she had falsely notarized the deed, as well as a will, transferring the home on Stearns Place in Salem to Brophy.

Theresa Brophy subsequently admitted to sufficient facts on a charge of violating the notary public law. She spent six months on probation and surrendered her commission as a notary public.

Michael Brophy said he had met with his father at a 99 Restaurant before his death to have him sign the deed.

After a number of delays in the case due to the pandemic, it was scheduled to be tried on Monday in Salem District Court.

However, neither Theresa Brophy nor the registry of deeds employee showed up to testify.

Prosecutors told a judge that they were not ready to try the case.

It was dismissed for lack of prosecution.

Brophy’s lawyer, John Morris, said it was still not clear to him why his client, who had nothing to gain from the alleged scheme given the pending foreclosure on his father’s home, was prosecuted while another attorney who was accused by the state Board of Bar Overseers of engaging in similar conduct involving a piece of property in Salem, Stephen P. Lovely, was not charged criminally.

Morris said he had obtained bank records he expected would have showed that the signatures on the supposedly forged documents were identical to those on documents known to have been signed by Brophy’s father.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis

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