Monday, March 17, 2008
A lawyer had previously been suspended in Maryland for escrow account violations including failure to supervise an office assistant (not a lawyer but an authorized signatory of the trust account) who had embezzled approximately $144,000 as a result of inadequate supervision. In a decision filed today by the Maryland Court of Appeals, the court ordered an indefinite suspension with the right to apply for reinstatement after 90 days.
The misconduct? The same problem-- he hired a legal assistant with a prior felony conviction. She stole approximately $124,000 from the trust account. In determining sanction, the court concluded: "We...look to [the attorney's] previous case, where he failed to supervise adequately another, different employee...[he] delegated to [the second employee] the task of dealing with the consequences of the original theft in addition to management of the day-to-day operations of [his]trust account...he failed to correct his funds disbursement system, which allowed [employee two] to steal from him in the same manner that the previous employee had." He had taken remedial measures and placed himself on voluntary inactive status while the second case was pending. (Mke Frisch)