Clients’ Security Fund Reimburses $75,000 to the Victim of One Attorney
The Board of Commissioners of the Clients' Security Fund voted to reimburse a former client of disbarred Hamilton County attorney Ricardo R. Sanz $75,000 as a result of the attorney’s conversion of client funds.
Sanz, who was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio in February 2011, was one of seven former or suspended Ohio attorneys who were found to have misappropriated client funds. The board also paid claims to the clients of two deceased attorneys.
Sanz’s client received the largest amount of the $209,490 the board awarded to 37 victims of attorney theft at its December 5 meeting in Columbus.
Nine clients of another former Hamilton County attorney, Geoffrey P. Damon, were reimbursed a total of $58,609 as a result of Damon’s failure to provide the services requested. Damon was permanently disbarred in September.
December’s meeting marks the last time clients will be reimbursed out of the Clients’ Security fund. Beginning January 1, the fund will be renamed the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection.
The Clients’ Security Fund was created in 1985 by the Ohio Supreme Court to reimburse victims of attorney theft, embezzlement or misappropriation. Since its inception it has awarded more than $19 million to victims. The fund does not contain any taxpayer dollars, as it derives its revenue by registration fees paid by every Ohio attorney. Ohio has more than 45,000 attorneys engaged in the active practice of law, and less than one percent of those attorneys have been involved in claims for the security funds.
Clients who believe they have sustained financial losses resulting from attorney theft, embezzlement or misappropriation should contact the fund at 614.387.9390 or toll free in Ohio at 1.800.231.1680.
To access more information about the disciplinary cases against some of these attorneys visit the Supreme Court’s online docket.
This quarter, 20 of the 37 clients were represented by attorneys from Cuyahoga County. Here are the awards determined by the board.
Sixteen former clients of former attorney James W. Westfall Jr. were reimbursed a total of $17,312 as a result of Westfall’s failure to provide the services requested. Westfall resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on August 30, 2013.
Three former clients of former attorney Kenneth J. Freeman were reimbursed a total of $10,200 as a result of Freeman’s failure to complete the services requested. Freeman was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio on March 6, 2013.
A former client of former attorney William L. Tomson Jr. was reimbursed $8,000 as a result of Tomson’s failure to provide the services requested. Tomson was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio on June 4, 2013.
The board determined that former clients of two deceased Greene County attorneys were eligible for reimbursement.
Two former clients of deceased attorney Paul W. Barrett were reimbursed a total of $3,634.58 as a result of Barrett’s failure to complete the services requested before his death on April 21, 2012.
Three former clients of deceased attorney Adrienne D. Brooks were reimbursed a total of $3,700 as a result of Brooks’ failure to complete the services requested before her death on March 12, 2013.
A former client of former attorney John W. Slagle was reimbursed $32,334 as a result of Slagle’s conversion of client funds. Slagle resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on February 25, 2009.
A former client of suspended attorney Beauregard M. Harvey was reimbursed $700 as a result of Harvey’s failure to provide the services requested. Harvey’s license to practice law in Ohio was suspended on September 4, 2014.