Illinois authorities have charged former Chicago personal injury attorney Jordan Margolis, who created a satirical comic book superhero ironically named Excuseman, with multiple felonies for allegedly stealing cash from clients.
“Never fear, Excuseman is here,” Margolis said in full costume as he greeted passersby while riding a Segway in a video shot in Los Angeles several years ago. “Spend a little money you shouldn’t have—drink a little more than you should have—Excuseman is here for all occasions. I can get you out of any jam you want.”
See the video embedded below for Excuseman — whose signature catchphrase is “excusez-moi” — in action.
Warning: Footage is very NSFW because of language used by a woman in separate segments reading from a stand-up routine script that is apparently supposed to be funny.
The Illinois Supreme Court disbarred Margolis in January, 2015, for allegedly getting his hands caught in the client cookie jar.
Margolis, 61, aka Excuseman, may need some help from his alter ego, the Chicago Tribune explained yesterday.
“But now it is Excuseman who is in a bad jam. Last week, Cook County prosecutors indicted Margolis, 61, on charges he stole more than $1.1 million from nearly a dozen clients — in part to pay expenses connected to Excuseman. The indictment charged him with 36 felony counts of theft, theft by deception, misappropriation of financial institution property, continuing a financial crimes enterprise and forgery, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Joel Bruckman. Margolis was released on $150,000 bail and ordered by Judge Erica Reddick to surrender his passport, court records show.”
In addition to practicing law, Margolis evidently has a long-time interest in stand-up comedy, playwriting, and promoting the corny-joke-telling Excuseman character through online videos and three self-published books, one of which he kept on a table in his law office to show clients, the Tribune continued.
“But this has been no joke for those who say they were cheated out of settlement money in wrongful death, job injury or car crash lawsuits. Some had to postpone retirement, sell their dream home or even forgo medication they could no longer afford, according to interviews and testimony before the state agency that disciplines lawyers in Illinois. Prosecutors accused Margolis of using the stolen funds to support his lifestyle… and to keep his downtown law firm afloat.”
The Excuseman lawyer’s excuse may be that his debt load had become supersized, the New York Daily News similarly suggested.
“Margolis graduated from Northwestern Law School and a built a prominent personal injury practice. But according to prosecutors, he was a secret villain — stealing settlement money from nearly a dozen clients in a Ponzi scheme to support his lavish lifestyle, help his firm and, sometimes, pay for his second life as Excuseman.”
Authorities have paid out approximately $600,000 to Excuseman’s former clients from an insurance fund, subject to a maximum $100,000 cap on each claim, which means any client/victim owed more than $100,000 in personal injury settlement or judgment proceeds by the attorney is out of luck, at least for the time being.
Margolis told the Tribune in an August 2011 story that “my goal is to get those who mess up to ‘fess up. Rather than play the blame game, if someone screws up I will nail them with a better excuse, so it’s a whimsical way to be a better person.”
Excuseman is reportedly trying to break into show business in a more high-profile way as a Hollywood screenplay writer.
Separately, a prominent Alabama personal injury lawyer known for suing drunk driving offenders for civil damages was arrested early Mother’s Day morning on suspicion of DUI in nearby Pensacola, Florida.
[Image via Shutterstock]