Archive for the ‘Misappropriation of Funds’ Category

Prominent Muskegon attorney faces discipline over thousands kept from former firm

October 1, 2013

Shawn P. Davis

MUSKEGON, MI – Shawn P. Davis, a prominent Muskegon criminal-defense and divorce attorney, faces possible disbarment for misappropriating thousands of dollars from the law firm for which he used to work.

The conduct, which Davis has admitted, lasted at least from 2007 until his partners confronted him and terminated him from Nolan & Nolan & Shafer PLC in August 2011. Since then, Davis has continued to practice law in Muskegon in a solo practice.

Davis admitted intentionally keeping cash and checks that many of his clients paid him, money he was supposed to turn over to the firm.

After his partners confronted him, he agreed to leave the firm and eventually admitted to taking a total of at least $14,060 on at least 22 separate occasions that he or his partners documented.

In September 2011, Davis paid the firm $50,000 as part of an agreement that severed his connection with his former partners and settled all claims between them, without admitting that he took more than $14,060. He had earlier repaid $6,150 of the misappropriated money.

According to documents obtained by the Muskegon Chronicle from the Attorney Grievance Commission, Davis attributed his behavior to financial pressures. In his defense he asserted his conduct was caused by a “temporary mental disability” – a “very high level of stress and depression he was undergoing as the result of facing serious financial difficulties.”

He was never prosecuted. But his license to practice law is in jeopardy.

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Prominent Muskegon attorney faces discipline over thousands kept from former firm


October 31, 2012

Documents filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia reveal that Holly Fujie of Los Angeles allegedly engaged in predicate acts of racketeering through and by means of money laundering, mail and bank fraud, as well as conversion of funds.

A former partner of Los Angeles-based Buchalter Nemer — who California Governor Jerry Brown appointed to the Los Angeles County Superior Court bench under questionable circumstances involving his cousin, former California Public Utility Commisioner Geoff Brown — is accused in federal court of committing myriad financial crimes and acts of fraud.

The lawsuit, filed as a civil-racketeering action by Marina Del Rey-based community activist Daniel Dydzak, also names as a defendant Bet Tzedek Legal Services of Los Angeles and Eric George — the son of the controversial former chief justice of California, Ronald George.

Both Holly Fujie and Eric George were directors of Bet Tzedek, an entity which obtained millions of dollars from the various trusts funds maintained and operated by the State Bar of California, as well as funds from the California Bar Foundation, where Holly Fujie presently serves as the vice-president.

Both the State Bar of California and the California Bar Foundation are under the direct control of the California Supreme Court.

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Ex-Client Awarded $867K Against Lawyer Who Stole $75K and Law Firm That Referred Her to Him

October 29, 2012

A woman whose lawyer misappropriated most of the $100,000 she was supposed to get in a probate case has had her day in court and was teary-eyed after a $867,000 jury verdict Monday in Bexar County, Texas.

“I am very pleased. The jury believed in me,” Isabel Sloan told the San Antonio Express-News.

The award includes $377,000 against now-disbarred attorney Eric Turton, who gave Sloan $25,000 of a $100,000 probate settlement she was supposed to get and admittedly kept the rest, as well as another attorney, Oscar C. Gonzalez, who referred her to Turton. An additional $200,000 was awarded against Gonzalez and his law firm, plus the verdict includes attorney’s fees for Kolb of a little over $290,000.

Although Gonzalez contended that he had simply referred Sloan to Turton, who had rented office space from him, Sloan contended that Gonzalez should have known Turton had a history of disciplinary issues and took a $2,500 retainer. Turton testified that Gonzalez referred cases to him and got a portion of the attorney’s fees. Testimony at trial also showed that some of Sloan’s money went to pay law office rent, the article says.

The jury found both lawyers responsible for a $75,000 misappropriation and fraud and additionally held Gonzalez and his firm liable for false, misleading and deceptive acts and practices and gross negligence.

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Ex-Client Awarded $867K Against Lawyer Who Stole $75K and Law Firm That Referred Her to Him

Man Stole Elderly Woman’s Funds, Bought Houseboat, Police Say

October 21, 2012

A St. Charles County man faces criminal charges after O’Fallon Police said he stole funds from an elderly woman, using the money to buy himself a houseboat.

Ben Huffman, 42, of the 100 block of Lake Village Drive in northwest St. Charles County, was charged with misappropriation of funds of an elderly nursing home resident; stealing more than $25,000, a class B felony; and marijuana possession.

O’Fallon Police said that Huffman, acting with power of attorney, stole more than $25,000 from the woman’s bank account between Dec. 3, 2010 and Aug. 24, 2011. He used the money for personal expenses, including buying a houseboat to live on, police said.

Huffman also was responsible for paying for the woman’s care at the nursing home, but she had an outstanding bill of $17,533 as of Aug. 15, 2011, according to court documents. The nursing home sent him certified letters regarding the bill.

Police also said Huffman tried to grow marijuana plants in the woman’s home.

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Man Stole Elderly Woman’s Funds, Bought Houseboat, Police Say