Saturday, November 19, 2016

Another Lawyer Finds Himself Forced Into Retirement; Disbarred In 2013 After Bar Auditors Found Over $1.6 Million In Improper Distributions To Himself From Client Trust Account, Now Begins 7-Year Prison Term For 13 Grand Theft Counts

In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the Daily Business Review reports:
  • Disbarred Pembroke Pines attorney Mark F. Dickson was sentenced to seven years in prison for grand theft.

    Dickson was supposed to help insurance companies recover damages from at-fault parties. But instead, prosecutors say he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the firms as part of a lucrative insurance settlement scam.

    He surrendered in Broward Circuit Judge Lisa Porter's courtroom Oct. 19 to begin serving his sentence in Florida State Prison, according to a release [] from the Broward State Attorney's Office. He pleaded guilty to 13 counts of grand theft.

    Prosecutors say Dickson misled his clients into thinking they couldn't resolve their claims, convincing them to close the files. But when his insurance company clients walked away, Dickson secretly settled the claims and pocketed the money.

    Prosecutor Catherine Maus told the court the former lawyer "used his bar license to conduct these thefts."

    Dickson, 68, was admitted to the bar in 1975. He was admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court and in federal and state courts in New York and Florida, according to his Florida Bar record. He lost his law license in 2012 following a Florida Bar petition for emergency suspension.

    At that time, Dickson was the subject of multiple disciplinary actions for financial misappropriation that prompted an audit of his trust and operating accounts. Auditors found he'd improperly distributed more than $1.6 million from his trust account to himself.

    The Florida Supreme Court subsequently disbarred Dickson in 2013. That same year, he faced criminal charges in the insurance case.

    Dickson faces 10 years' probation after his release from prison. He must also pay about $408,000 in restitution.(1)
Source: Disbarred Lawyer Sentenced to 7 Years for Theft From Insurance Clients.
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(1) The Clients' Security Fund was created by The Florida Bar to help compensate persons who have suffered a loss of money or property due to misappropriation or embezzlement by a Florida-licensed attorney.

For similar "attorney ripoff reimbursement funds" that sometimes help cover the financial mess created by the dishonest conduct of lawyers licensed in other states and Canada, see:
Maps available courtesy of The National Client Protection Organization, Inc.

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