David Replogle, a San Francisco attorney famed for winning a $7 million sex abuse settlement from prominent local stockbroker Thomas White, has been charged with murder in connection with an unrelated Palm Springs fraud case, according to new charges filed in Riverside County court. Replogle has been charged with murder while committing a robbery, and murder carried out for financial gain, as well as fraud, embezzlement, and damage to property of over $1 million. If convicted of murder under these special circumstances, Replogle faces the death penalty, or life imprisonment without possibility of parole, according to the California Penal Code.
Replogle was arrested earlier this month on forgery charges in connection with an alleged scheme to steal the assets of retired art dealer Cliff Lambert, 75, who was last seen in early December. Also arrested were four other suspects in connection with an alleged scheme to empty Lambert's bank accounts, loot paintings and other valuables from his house, steal his Mercedes sports car, and fraudulently sell Lambert's $1 million home.
When Replogle was arrested earlier this month, he demanded to see a Palm Springs district attorney, so that he might cut a plea deal, said Detective Frank Browning, of the Palm Springs police department.
"He was very arrogant," Browning said, during an interview prior to the filing of the murder charges. Browning said Replogle was told there would be no deal.
Also charged with murder in connection with the case are Kaushal
Niroula, 27, who police say is Replogle's boyfriend, and Daniel Garcia,
27, who served as Replogle's key client in a 2003 sex abuse lawsuit
against San Francisco financier Thomas White.
As reported in this week's SF Weekly, Replogle
has a reputation among some San Francisco attorneys for pushing ethical
boundaries. White's attorneys, meanwhile, have long accused Replogle of
conducting a sophisticated frame up, in order to extract a large
settlement from the San Francisco financier. White now faces sex abuse
charges in Mexico and San Francisco, spurred in part by Replogle's
tireless recruitment of Mexican boys willing to say they had sex with
White. Now that Replogle has been charged in connection with the
Lambert case, White's attorneys claim the case against their client may be
tainted by Replogle's damaged credibility.
to their arrest in Palm Springs earlier this month, Niroula had gained
a reputation among associates for battling accusations that they
repeatedly defrauded people. Niroula faced separate charges of stealing
more than $600,000 from victims in San Francisco and Marin County,
while facing a lawsuit alleging he stole $500,000 from a Japanese woman
visiting San Francisco.. Garcia, meanwhile, faced charges of
impersonating and stealing from a friend in Las Vegas. Garcia had also
been accused of stealing thousands of dollars from White's bank
Replogle's bail, which had been set
at $5 million, was revoked, according to court records. Replogle is
scheduled for a preliminary hearing March 23, at which time a judge
will determine whether there exists sufficient evidence for a trial.