A suspended lawyer from West Long Branch is wanted by Monmouth County authorities, charged with stealing from clients.

Eugene LaVergne, 47, faces a number of counts led by theft and misapplication of entrusted property in a probe that has its roots in 2008.

Investigators contend that a client hired LaVergne that year in an estate matter that resulted in a $502,000 attorney trust account in 2009. By that September, citing diminishing funds, Chancery Court officials froze the account. Auditors determined that $152,000 had vanished, and investigators believe that LaVergne used it for personal expenses.

LaVergne was suspended in January 2011. Investigators contend that he took another case following his suspension for a $4,500 retainer. He was admitted to the New Jersey Bar in 1990.

Theft and misapplication of entrusted property are second-degree charges, carrying possible prison terms of  up to 10 years. A charge related to the retainer is third-degree, with a term of up to five years on conviction.  LaVergne could be given another 18 months for unauthorized practice of law.

LaVergne’s whereabouts are still unknown. His last known practice was in Eatontown. Anyone who has information about LaVergne or about the matters under probe should contact Detective Edward Finlay in the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office: 1-800-533-7443.