Sunday, August 13, 2017

Possible Disbarment Looms After Lawyer Gets Hit With Emergency Suspension For Allegedly Swiping $32K Of Client's Funds Held In Trust Account, Then Lying About It In Subsequent Legal Proceedings

In Edwardsville, Illinois, The Telegraph reports:
  • A state commission has suspended the license of an Edwardsville lawyer after he allegedly used $32,000 of a client’s money for his own purposes.

    William James Meacham, of 521 St. Louis St., Edwardsville, may also be disbarred after further proceedings in the case.

    The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission has suspended Meacham’s license, and a hearing board of the commission has recommended he be disbarred.

    The commission claims Meacham not only misused the $32,000, he lied about it during legal proceedings and set up a scheme to deceive the commission concerning his involvement. He was also cited for allegedly neglecting two personal injury cases.

    The money was deposited in a trust fund at Bank of Edwardsville after the client, Mark A. Breeden, received a settlement for an automobile accident. Meacham had borrowed money against the possible settlement, and the $32,000 was due to the lender, LawCash.

    LawCash is a firm that lends money in advance of legal settlements to provide the clients ready cash and to finance the litigation. The settlement was for $160,000, and Meacham allegedly borrowed $32,000 against the settlement. By agreement, Meacham was to receive the customary one-third of the settlement amount.

    The money was supposed to be held in a trust account for the client to repay LawCash. The money was not available when the loan came due because Meacham had already spent most the $32,000 on himself. He failed to notify his client or the lender, the IARDC claims.

    LawCash prevailed upon Meacham for repayment of the loan and filed suit to recover what was due. In a deposition, Meacham was unable to give clear answers as to what happened to the $32,000. “I don’t know what in the world has happened here. It don’t look good,” he testified.

    The IARDC alleged that Meacham’s testimony was false.

    A document on file in the IARDC case claims Meacham left a message with Breeden, admitting he removed the $32,000 that was to be held in trust against the loan in order to hide the money from the lender. He said he planned to deliver the funds to Breeden after the LawCash suit expired. That statement was also false, the IARDC claims.

    Meacham then allegedly created fake receipts to indicate the funds had been paid to Breeden, the client. The commission claims that Meacham also lied to Breeden that he was holding the funds for Breeden at a later date.

    The commission also claims that Meacham lied during an IARDC hearing by testifying that he had disbursed the money to Breeden, but did not, and created false receipts to cover his tracks.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home