Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Victims of Attorney Theft Awarded More Than $330,000 by Clients’ Security Fund

Three Tuscarawas County victims of attorney theft will receive $160,362 and five clients of a former Franklin County attorney will receive $102,450, after a meeting Friday of the Board of Commissioners of the Clients’ Security Fund of Ohio.

In total, 39 victims of attorney theft were awarded $336,636.59. The reimbursements involve 18 former or suspended Ohio attorneys who were found to have misappropriated client funds. Two deceased attorneys and two permanently retired attorneys were also involved in the claims presented to the board.

Created in 1985 by the Ohio Supreme Court to reimburse victims of attorney theft, embezzlement, or misappropriation, the fund is supported entirely by attorney registration fees. Ohio has more than 44,000 attorneys engaged in the active practice of law. Less than one-tenth of 1 percent of those attorneys is involved in CSF claims.

Clients who believe they have sustained financial losses resulting from attorney misconduct should contact the fund at 614.387.9390 or toll-free in Ohio at 1.800.231.1680.

Access more information about the disciplinary cases against some of these attorneys via the Supreme Court’s online docket.

The Tuscarawas County theft victims were former clients of deceased attorney Joseph A. Wheeler who did not account for client funds before he died on May 10, 2006.

The Franklin County theft victims were former clients of former attorney Eric J. Strawser resulting from Strawser’s failure to provide the services requested and conversion of client funds. Strawser resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on October 21, 2011.

Here are the other awards determined by the board.

Four former clients of former Adams County attorney Michelle Wickerham were found eligible for reimbursement of $5,475 as a result of her failure to provide the services requested. Wickerham was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio on June 14, 2012.

The board determined that former clients of seven Cuyahoga County attorneys were eligible for reimbursement.

  • A former client of retired attorney Santiago Feliciano Jr. was reimbursed $1,000 as a result of Santiago’s failure to provide the services requested. Santiago permanently retired from the practice law in Ohio on December 13, 2011.
  • A former client of disbarred attorney Kenneth J. Freeman was reimbursed $2,179 as a result of Freeman’s failure to provide the services requested. Freeman was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio on March 6.
  • A former client of former attorney Charles R. Laurie Jr. was reimbursed $4,975 as a result of Laurie’s failure to provide the services requested. Laurie resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on September 6, 2012.
  • A former client of disbarred attorney Shondra Longino was reimbursed $7,915 as a result of Longino’s failure to provide the services requested. Longino was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio on April 6, 2011.
  • A former client of suspended attorney Donald S. Nance was reimbursed $1,099 as a result of Nance’s failure to provide the services requested. Nance’s license to practice law in Ohio was suspended on November 19, 2009.
  • A former client of former attorney Henry Novak was reimbursed $5,500 as a result of Novak’s failure to provide the services requested. Novak resigned from the practice law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on October 20, 2010.
  • A former client of disbarred attorney Kevin Toohig was reimbursed $17,000 as a result of Toohig’s failure to account for settlement proceeds. Toohig was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio on November 15, 2012.

The board awarded reimbursement to former clients of seven other Franklin County attorneys.

  • Two former clients of former attorney Frederick L. Baker were reimbursed $1,850.75 as a result of Baker’s failure to provide the services requested. Baker resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on January 26, 2012.
  • A former client of suspended attorney April M. Bogdanski was reimbursed $945 as a result of Bogdanski’s failure to provide the services requested. Bogdanski’s license to practice law in Ohio was suspended indefinitely on February 13. An Interim Default Suspension was issued against Bogdanski on March 19.
  • A former client of retired attorney James Ddumba was reimbursed $895 as a result of Ddumba’s failure to provide the services requested. Ddumba permanently retired from the practice of law in Ohio on August 11, 2010.
  • A former client of suspended attorney Ray J. King was reimbursed $1,409.50 as a result of King’s failure to provide the services requested. King’s license to practice law in Ohio was suspended on March 6, 2012.
  • A former client of suspended attorney Charles W. McGowan was reimbursed $600 as a result of McGowan’s failure to provide the services requested. McGowan’s license to practice law in Ohio was suspended indefinitely on April 16.
  • A former client of deceased attorney Edward F. Pelteson was reimbursed $1,180 as a result of Pelteson’s failure to provide the services requested before his death on November 29, 2011.
  • Three former clients of disbarred attorney SaKeya M. Stubbs were reimbursed $1,600 as a result of Stubbs’ failure to provide the services requested. Stubbs was permanently disbarred from the practice law in Ohio on November 29, 2012.

The board awarded reimbursement to former clients of two Hamilton County attorneys.

  • A former client of disbarred attorney Jason R. Hennekes was reimbursed $500 as a result of Hennekes’ failure to provide the services requested. Hennekes was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio on December 6, 2012.
  • A former client of former attorney Robert K. Larson Jr. was reimbursed $1,200 as a result of Larson’s failure to provide the services requested. Larson resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on August 20, 2010.

Five former clients of suspended Medina County attorney Eric D. Hall were reimbursed $8,474 as a result of Hall’s failure to provide the services requested. Hall’s license to practice law in Ohio was suspended on March 1, 2012 for a term of two years, with six months stayed.

A former client of former Sandusky County attorney Andrew C. Lockshin was reimbursed $1,500 as a result of Lockshin’s failure to account for settlement proceeds. Lockshin resigned from the practice law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on November 24, 2010.

Two former clients of former Trumbull County attorney Joseph D. Ohlin were reimbursed $8,527.34 as a result of Ohlin’s failure to account for settlement proceeds. Ohlin resigned from the practice law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on March 14.

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