Attorney Gets Bar Boot For Negligent Handling Of Escrow Money Resulting In $100K In Losses to One Client
- Huntington Beach attorney Michael Vance Wright was disbarred on Jan. 6, 2017, by the State Bar Court of California. The decision to recommend the disbarment of the Orange County attorney stemmed from several counts of misconduct in one client matter in which Wright misappropriated nearly $100,000 of his client’s funds.(1)
According to the State Bar, Wright was involved in an escrow agreement in 2014 between a Nigerian company’s CEO and an investment company. The CEO deposited $100,000 into a client trust account to help the investment company obtain a $5 million line of credit. Wright allegedly misappropriated $96,500 of the funds by transferring them directly to the investment company and kept the additional $3,500 for himself in escrow fees without helping the investment company receive its line of credit. The attorney disregarded many safeguards put into place for transferring the funds.
In addition, Wright allegedly did not inform the CEO of his actions and on multiple occasions provided her with excuses as to why the investment company did not receive its line of credit and why her funds had not been returned. As of Jan. 6, the CEO still has not been reimbursed, though the disciplinary ruling states that $100,000 in restitution must be made by the 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:
- 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.