Sunday, May 21, 2017

Employee-Wife Gets 55 To 78 Months For Purloining Over $140K From Law Firm's Client Trust Account While Employer-Hubby Gets 90 Days For Unrelated Misdemeanor Charges, Law License Suspended For At Least 2 Years

In North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, the Wilkes Journal-Patriot reports:
  • The N.C. Bar Association has suspended the license of attorney R. Tyson “Ty” Ferrell, who has practiced law in Wilkes County for many years.

    Ferrell, 52, pleaded guilty in Wilkes Superior Court earlier [in April] to 15 misdemeanor counts of failure to withhold state tax. He was sentenced to a total of 90 days in jail, suspended 60 months with two years of supervised probation and three years of unsupervised probation.
    ***
    Ferrell’s license was suspended for five years as part of a consent decree between the attorney and the N.C. State Bar. The decree was heard and signed in Wilkes Superior Court by Judge Patrice Hinnant of Guilford County.

    As part of the decree, Ferrell will be unable to practice law for two years, with the last three years of the judgment suspended. Should he complete a number of requirements placed upon him by the state bar, Ferrell could apply to have his license reinstated after two years.

    Ferrell’s estranged wife, Kristy Cass Ferrell, 40, of 4941 Old Salisbury Road, Union Grove, was sentenced in Wilkes Superior Court by Hinnant in February to not less than 55 nor more than 78 months in prison after she pleaded guilty to numerous felony offenses occurring while she was employed as an assistant in Ferrell’s office.

    Kristy Ferrell pleaded guilty to multiple counts of embezzlement and obtaining property by false pretense, forgery of a certificate of title, insurance fraud and conspiracy, all felony offenses.

    She was also ordered to pay certain amounts in restitution, including $93,000 to the N.C. Bar Association and $48,500 to Jay Mathis.

    A co-defendant in the case, Graham Randell Waddell, 46, of 1011 Austin-Little Mountain Road, Ronda, was ordered jointly responsible for compensating Mathis.

    Waddell pleaded guilty in October to similar offenses, including multiple counts of obtaining property by false pretense, and received a suspended sentence in Wilkes Superior Court.

    He was also ordered to pay $52,000 in restitution.

    Waddell, who is Kristy Ferrell’s ex-husband, was also employed by Ty Ferrell as an assistant at his office.

    All charges were filed after an investigation by the Wilkes Sheriff’s Office.

    The bar association, according to the decree, maintained that Kristy Ferrell and Randell Waddell, between February 2012 and July 2015, misappropriated over $100,000 from Ty Ferrell’s clients. The money was in the law firm’s trust account at Yadkin Valley Bank.

    Ty Ferrell’s failure to supervise the work of his wife and her ex-husband “enabled… the theft of client funds,” according to the consent decree. This was found to be a violation of the bar association’s rules of professional conduct.

    Kristy Ferrell’s parents, Josephine and Stanley Cass, have also been charged in connection with this investigation. Their cases have not yet been heard.
Source: License of attorney Ty Ferrell is suspended.
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(1) In North Carolina, the Client Security Fund was established by the state's Supreme Court in 1984 to reimburse clients who have suffered financial loss as the result of dishonest conduct of lawyers engaged in the private practice of law in North Carolina. There is a $100,000 dollar limit on reimbursements for an applicant who suffered a reimbursable loss (or losses) as the result of the dishonest conduct of one lawyer.

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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