In Jersey City, New Jersey, The Jersey Journal
- A Hudson County attorney who received a three-month suspension of his law license in 2015 over a road rage incident is now facing a 15-count ethics complaint that alleges he knowingly misappropriated $127,844 related to his private law practice.
The attorney, John Collins, has been on the county payroll since 2010. County officials changed his title from attorney to confidential aide after the newest ethics charges surfaced. A hearing is scheduled for Feb. 6.
The allegations against Collins are detailed in a 33-page complaint filed on Aug. 25, 2014 by the state Office of Attorney Ethics. The OAE accuses him of misappropriating funds related to 18 clients between 2010 and 2013, taking money intended for matters related to the clients' cases and using it for other purposes. He is also accused of practicing law with a suspended license.
Collins' attorney declined to comment.
The clients all retained Collins for real-estate matters, according to the complaint. In a typical example cited in the complaint, Collins represented a man buying a Seventh Street condo in Jersey City. According to the OAE, $382,945.92 was deposited in Collins' attorney trust account from various sources for costs associated with the sale, but Collins only dispersed $373,674.37, stiffing a title company of $2,208.80 and the client of $5,067.75.
In his response to the OAE, Collins denied the charges of misappropriation, admitting to "poor record-keeping." He also said he "suffered from alcoholism" during the time period the OAE investigated his bank accounts.