Another Slippery Lawyer Fails In Attempt To Dodge Disbarment By Resigning From State Bar In Advance Of Court Boot; Blames Ex-Wife For Screwing Up His Trust Account, Stiffing Clients Out Of Lawsuit $ettlement Money
- After a failed attempt to resign from the state bar last year, San Jose Councilman and attorney Tam Nguyen was disbarred this month — a punishment for not paying his clients their settlement.
“I’m taking responsibility and I accept the punishment and consequences,” Nguyen told IA on Monday. “My resignation was not approved by the Supreme Court. The whole thing was my fault.”
Nguyen, who’s been an attorney since 1992, last year faced eight charges for failing to pay his clients a $5,078 insurance settlement from a personal injury case. The court documents say Nguyen also failed to pay his clients’ medical provider $2,234 from another insurance settlement.(1)
Nguyen said it was his ex-wife’s job to make the payments — but she dropped the ball because of the divorce. He said the money was in his trust fund and it was a simple misunderstanding. “She did not have the time to pay it,” he said.
But Nguyen also faced similar charges in 2004 when he wrote checks to clients from an account with insufficient funds. In that case, he was suspended from the State Bar of California for 45 days and placed on a 5-year probation.
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:
- Directory Of Lawyers' Funds For Client Protection (February 2017) (includes Canadian recovery funds, courtesy of the American Bar Association);
- Check the USA Client Protection Funds Map;
- Check the Canada Client Protection Funds Map.