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Pleasanton attorney admits forgery, lying to IRS

Original post made on Dec 29, 2012

A 72-year-old Pleasanton attorney could see up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine for tax fraud. William A. Hirst pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of making a false statement to the Internal Revenue Service, according to US Attorney Melinda Haag.

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Comments (17)

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Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Dec 29, 2012 at 3:57 pm

I am curious about the charges that were dropped in the plea bargain and what he was trying to prevent or gain by forging the documents.


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Posted by William Hirst
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2012 at 4:20 pm

In the interest of accuracy and fairness it should be noted that the plea agreement from which your newspaper took virtually all of its article also contemplates punishment of six months home detention, a fine of $30,000.00 and that I retire from the practice of law. This is a far cry from the maximum punishment you reference on two occasions in your article. It is also relevant that there was no tax loss to the government nor did I profit by so much as a nickel. The plea agreement will be accepted or rejected by the Judge at the time of sentencing in late April, 2013 after having reviewed the probation report.

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Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 29, 2012 at 4:40 pm

WH -- you lost the deeds and knew that you had tremendous liability to the client. Stupid man. Your E & O insurance would likely have covered you from an inadvertent, although stupid, act. You are now on your own as no E & O policy will cover you for willful misconduct and fraud.
I hope that you get the maximum penalty and then when you get out the heirs can sue you for malpractice.
Idiots like you give sharks, um, lawyers, their bad name.

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Posted by Billy Coonrod
a resident of California Reflections
on Dec 29, 2012 at 10:46 pm

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff for containing unverified or personal information.)

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Posted by Nancy s.
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2012 at 6:14 pm

(Comment partially removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)
I see an attorney that lost/misplaced some documents, knew what his clients intentions wete and sadly forged his clients name to rectify the situation. He wasnt trying to defraud or steal from the client. Yes, he should not have lied and should have come forward right away when he knew the docs were lost. However, I dont think "residents" suggestion of the maximum sentence is warranted.

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Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 31, 2012 at 8:46 am

Nancy S, you are a fool. His INTENT was to break the law. Do the ends justify the means?
How about a doctor who has had a few drinks and volunteers to help in surgery because his "intent" is to save a life. But he kills someone instead. Since his intent was good, do we let him off? You could argue this all day but the fact is that this attorney, a trusted officer of the court, was perfectly willing to break the law. Not to help the client, don't be that dumb, he was willing to break the law to bail his own butt out of hot water.

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Posted by Elaine S.
a resident of Castlewood
on Dec 31, 2012 at 9:37 am

Being someone who's worked in the real estate field, it sounds like he lost some documents that had previously been prepared and signed but got lost. Doesn't sound like there was any intent to defraud anyone. Probably should have gone to the courts, told them he lost them and what the clients intent was. Anyway, home detention would for a week or two is punishment enough.

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Posted by george
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Dec 31, 2012 at 9:47 am

Mr Hirst is my attorney, neighbor, friend, wonderful & considerate husband and father. I think all of us at one time or another has made a bad judgement call. We support him.

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Posted by Allen !!
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 31, 2012 at 9:55 am

It doesn't look like that anybody is ging to be held accountable for the Benghazi attack which left four Americans dead, but the Govt. is ready to fry a decent man who could have made an error in judgement, If there is one Attorney in Pleasanton that I would trust it would be Bill Hirst.

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Posted by Common Sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2012 at 10:58 am

I've done business on & off for 20+years with Bill Hirst. He is one of those attorneys that, in my opinion is incapable of purposely committing fraud. It's people like you, resident, that are probably the ones going after Bill when they should focus on real corrupt attorneys that are actually scamming people. I suggest you reread the article with not such a one track, closed mind. Why don't you now go do something productive like mow your lawn or take down your Christmas lights.

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Posted by None of the Above
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Forgery is one thing. Lying to federal officials about it is another.

While I don't dispute Mr. Hirst's claim that he made no money from the deal, perhaps it is time for him to retire.

Like this comment
Posted by Frank Capilla
a resident of Deer Oaks/Twelve Oaks
on Dec 31, 2012 at 2:20 pm

I have known Bill Hirst for 40 Plus years. He has done legal work for me and we see each other socially on a regular basis. Most recently, Bill and I served together on the Pleasanton Pioneer Cemetery committee. Bill did all the legal work (pro bono) on that project up until the time the City bought the cemetery. The city was able to buy the cemetery from the Odd Fellows, for $1.00.
Bill is a good friend and an honest guy who made a mistake. He did not profit from this, the IRS did not loose any money from this and there were no other complaints filed. I sincerely hope the citizens of Pleasanton will remember Bill's years of hard work and community service and forgive him this one mistake. His friends and I have.
Frank Capilla
A 43 year resident of Pleasanton.

Like this comment
Posted by Nancy s.
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2012 at 5:56 pm

@resident. I am no fool, and judging from the additional comments, many feel the same way. Resident, you are an idiot.

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Posted by William Tell
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2012 at 7:07 pm

C'mon, he's white and he made a honest (well, a bit dis-honest I guess) mistake. But nobody was hurt and the gub'mint didn't lose any money. Many folks of a certain entitlement class/ethnicity in Alameda County get less than the sentence mentioned for the manslaughter/murder of productive members of society.

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 1, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Lots of Henny Penny's in Plutonia!

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Posted by PT
a resident of Avignon
on Jan 6, 2013 at 12:08 am

Mr. Hirst is an honest man and I have known him off and on for about 10 years. Highly trust the man.

Like this comment
Posted by Michael O'Callaghan
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 13, 2013 at 2:26 pm

I have personally known and done business with Bill Hirst for well in excess of 30 years. He is possibly the most honest and trust worthy person I know. A wonderful human being! [removed because it was disrespectful and inappropriate.]

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