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Crimson Kidnapper: Harvard Lawyer Turns to Life of Crime

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on August 03, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

File this one to "lawyers behaving really, really badly." A recently disbarred San Francisco lawyer and Harvard Law grad has been arrested for robbing a Bay Area home and kidnapping one of its residents. Matthew Muller, the alleged crimson kidnapper then attempted to ransom the woman for $15,000.

That is, if the kidnapping took place at all. Before arresting Muller, police had been convinced that the entire robbery-abduction was a hoax.

The Hoax Kidnapping That Probably Wasn't a Hoax

Last March, Aaron Quinn of Vallejo, California, called police to report that his house had been broken into and his girlfriend abducted. Quinn claimed that a pair of kidnappers bound and drugged him, then took off with his partner. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of $15,000, or about 60 billable hours.

The Vallejo PD weren't buying Quinn's story, however. Quinn's girlfriend showed up, apparently unharmed two days later and right before the ransom was due. She said she had been sexually assaulted, but the FBI found no evidence to support that claim. The Vallejo police held a press conference, calling the whole thing a hoax.

Not All Lawyers Are Sociopaths, But...

Then Muller was arrested for a similar crime. That lead the FBI to connect him to the Vallejo abduction. The Harvard Law grad had apparently left his cell phone behind at the scene of the second crime.

The FBI also found a stolen car near Muller's Tahoe home. Inside it were hairs matching the female victim's and a pair of swimming goggles with the eyes blacked out. Investigators also found an empty bag of zip ties, Nyquil, 42 assorted pills, weight-loss medication, and makeup in the car. In Muller's storage locker, they found drones, a wireless video camera, black duct tape and pliers -- all of which scream creepy, if not necessarily guilty.

Of course, before his arrest, things hadn't exactly been going swimmingly for Muller. Prior to becoming a potential felon, Muller had served as a Marine, according to court documents. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and suffered from psychosis, but graduated Harvard Law and joined the California Bar in 2011. He was suspended two years later for failing to pay his bar dues.

This year, Muller was disbarred after he took money for a client's green card application he never filed. By then, however, it seems that Muller had given up on the law. The Supreme Court's decision focuses mostly on the Bar's failed attempts to track the lawyer down in order to discipline him.

The Vallejo police, who initially brushed the kidnapping aside, have remained awfully quiet as since the FBI took over.

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