A Chester County attorney has admitted to stealing the identities of his ex-wife and former mother-in-law and using credit cards he set up in their names to support his mistress, buy porn, and pay for visits to strip clubs.
Joshua Janis, 40, pleaded guilty Monday to more than 30 counts of identity theft, forgery, and related offenses during a hearing before Judge Patrick Carmody. His sentencing was deferred to March 22, when he will also be sentenced in another case involving thefts from his clients at a West Chester law firm.
Janis’ attorney, Ryan Hyde, declined to comment Tuesday.
The investigation into Janis’ conduct began in 2015, when his law license was suspended after clients filed complaints with the state Judicial Conduct Board.
After a criminal investigation triggered by that suspension, Janis was charged with theft in July 2018, accused of stealing a total of $90,000 from dozens of clients. Prosecutors said he collected legal fees without working on their cases. He was found guilty by a county jury in December.
As prosecutors probed that case, they learned that Janis’ ex-wife, Jennifer Hulnick, had discovered several unauthorized credit card accounts in her name.
Janis set up accounts with nine companies using Hulnick’s personal information, including her Social Security number, according to court documents. For each of the accounts, Janis listed his cell phone number or email as the primary contact so Hulnick wouldn’t find out, the documents show.
On a Bank of America account, Janis ran up more than $20,000 in expenses, prosecutors said.
Janis used a similar scheme to create accounts in the name of Ellen Hulnick, his former mother-in-law. Prosecutors estimate he spent $80,000 in the name of Jennifer Hulnick and $5,000 in her mother’s name.