Sunday, May 14, 2017

Career Coming To Screeching Halt For Western Kentucky Attorney? Soon After Cops Announce Arrest For Alleged Filching Of $93K From One Client, More Victims Come Forward With Similar Gripes; Cops Now Have 34 Complaints Under Probe

In McCracken County, Kentucky, West Kentucky Star.com reports:
  • A local attorney has been arrested on multiple counts of theft, and police say more charges are possible.

    The McCracken County Sheriff's Office says deputies began investigating after they got information that 43-year-old James “Grant” King had failed to pay collected settlement money to his clients.

    Detectives said a couple who had been involved in an accident hired King in February of 2016. King was to negotiate a settlement agreement with Nationwide Insurance. Within six weeks of being hired, police say King had settled both claims, collecting a combined $93,000 without consulting with his clients to seek their approval on the amounts being settled.

    According to police, King failed to notify his clients that he had settled and collected with Nationwide. Police said the clients only found out after they began investigating why the case had not been settled. After being told by Nationwide that the case had been settled, King was confronted. He reportedly told his clients the paperwork must have been misplaced and the money was still sitting in escrow.

    The clients, not believing this, filed a criminal complaint with the sheriff’s department. Through the investigation, detectives were able to view King’s escrow account statements, which showed he deposited the combined $93,000 in March and April of 2016. A few weeks later, police say all the money had been removed from the account.

    Police said transaction records showed approximately half the money went to King himself, with the rest being written for payroll, personal expenses, and what is believed to be other clients that he may have owed money. Detectives were unable to locate any records where the clients in this case received any money or where any medical bills associated from the accident had been paid.

    King was arrested Thursday [April 27] on two counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of property $10,000 or more.

    Detectives said another of King's former clients contacted them on Friday [April 28]. The man told them he was involved in an accident in April 2015 and hired King to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company. After not hearing anything for over a year, the victim checked with the insurance company and was told the case had been settled last May for $17,500. The victim told police he hadn’t received any payment to date from King.

    Detectives later learned King had deposited a settlement check of $17,500 made out to King Law and the victim on May 6[, 2016]. The victim did not get any of that money, and detectives were able to show that King had spent it.

    King was charged with another count of theft over $10,000.

    The Sheriff’s Department says it is investigating several other complaints [against] King, and more charges possible.
Source: Local Attorney Faces Additional Theft Charges.

For story update, see Affidavit Lists 34 Complaints Against Grant King:
  • More than 30 people have now come forward with criminal complaints against a local attorney accused of settling insurance claims and pocketing the money without the knowledge of his clients. According to the search warrant affidavit, there have been a total of 34 complaints against Grant King.
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(1) The Kentucky Supreme Court (SCR 3.820) established a Clients' Security Fund (CSF) to promote public confidence in the administration of justice and the integrity of the legal profession” by providing some measure of restitution to clients who have lost money because of the dishonest, fraudulent acts, or other unethical conduct of a member of the Kentucky Bar. To fund CSF, a portion of each Kentucky attorney’s dues, as determined by the Supreme Court, is allocated to the CSF each year. No tax dollars support the CSF.

At present there are caps on recovery. There is a cap of $50,000 per claim, with a total cap per attorney of $150,000. If there are so many claims against an attorney that the cap is reached, awards may be reduced on a pro rata basis.

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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