Tuesday, April 13, 2010
The web page of the Ohio Supreme Court reports:
The Supreme Court of Ohio today permanently revoked the license of [an] attorney... for engaging in multiple acts of professional misconduct in his dealings with five different clients. That misconduct included misappropriation of tens of thousands of dollars of funds held in trust for clients, neglect of clients’ legal matters, failing to respond to client inquiries and requests for documents, failing to pay or return funds in his possession to which clients were entitled, and making false and dishonest representations to clients about the status of their cases and disposition of their funds.
The Court unanimously adopted findings by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline that in the cases of two different business clients, [the attorney] received regular payments from those companies over a multi-year period to cover their payroll tax and workers’ compensation insurance obligations, and represented to the clients that he was making regular disbursements for those purposes when in fact he kept or spent large amounts of those funds himself. As a result of his dishonesty, one client was assessed by federal and state tax authorities for more than $100,000 in back taxes and penalties, and the other was assessed for $340,000 in delinquent taxes, penalties and interest.
Finding that [the attorney] also failed to cooperate with disciplinary authorities or even file answers to the complaints against him, caused grave financial harm to multiple clients, failed to make restitution, and subsequently abandoned his law practice leaving scores of clients without access to important legal records and documents, the Court concurred with the disciplinary board’s recommendation that the only appropriate sanction for his misconduct was permanent disbarment.
The court's opinion is linked here. (Mike Frisch)