Sunday, March 12, 2017

Conga Line Of Attorneys Disbarred For Stealing Money Obtained/Held For Their Clients Keeps On Growing

In Lee's Summit, Missouri, the Kansas City Business Journal reports:
  • Dennis J. Bonner, an attorney from Lee's Summit and a former member of the Missouri House, was disbarred by the Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday [February 28].

    Bonner, who had a solo practice, admitted to violating five rules of professional conduct for attorneys and filed a motion with the court to voluntarily surrender his license to practice law in Missouri. Bonner was under investigation for mishandling his client's personal injury settlement funds.

    "The audit and investigation revealed that (Bonner) often used client settlement funds to pay his own law firm and personal expenses and (Bonner) had to delay paying clients until he received settlement funds from other clients," the Missouri Supreme Court wrote. "In short, (Bonner) has been systematically 'robbing Peter to pay Paul' in conscious, fraudulent disregard of his professional responsibilities."

    The court cited 10 examples of Bonner delaying payments for one client until he got a new settlement from another, then using the money to repay the first client. The court also cited six examples of Bonner misappropriating about $55,000 in third-party funds that were designated for medical bills and other expenses and now not having the means to repay the money. Bonner drew upon a $25,000 line of credit he had at Bank of Grain Valley and deposited it into the trust accounts but was still unable to repay everyone he owed.
Source: Lee's Summit attorney, a former legislator, gets disbarred.
(1)The Missouri Bar maintains a Client Security Fund to (at least partially) compensate clients victimized by sticky-fingered lawyers. Payments are limited to 80% of the amount of the loss over $2,500 and there is a maximum payment of $50,000 per claim. Go here for an application form and instructions.

See, generally, The Missouri Bar: Righting Wrongs (Compensating Clients Financially Harmed By Their Attorneys' Actions).

For similar "attorney ripoff reimbursement funds" that attempt to clean up 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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