Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Victims of Attorney Theft Awarded Money from Lawyers' Fund

The Board of Commissioners of the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection has awarded $236,558 to 33 victims of attorney theft. Ten former or suspended Ohio attorneys were found to have misappropriated client funds, and additional claims were made involving five deceased attorneys.

Cuyahoga County
The maximum award amount of $75,000 was approved to a former client of now-deceased Westlake attorney James L. Burns for failure to account for the client’s funds.

A former client of deceased attorney Bruce M. Cichocki was reimbursed $440 as a result of the attorney’s failure to complete the services requested prior to his death in 2013.

Two former clients of former attorney James W. Westfall Jr. were reimbursed a total of $2,305 because he failed to provide the services requested before resigning from the practice of law in Ohio in August 2013 with discipline pending.

Delaware County
A former client of former Delaware County attorney Aaron R. Scheeler was reimbursed $850 as a result of Scheeler failing to provide the services requested. He resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, in October 2014.

Erie County
Former clients of deceased attorney John F. Kirwan were reimbursed $2,300 as a result of Kirwan’s failure to complete the services requested prior to his death in September 2013.

Franklin County
The board awarded reimbursement to former clients of two Franklin County attorneys. Fifteen former clients of suspended attorney Mohammed Noure Alo were reimbursed a total of $54,540 as a result of Alo’s failure to provide the services requested.

A former client of deceased attorney Ester D. Harber was reimbursed $600 because legal services were not completed before Harber’s death in June 2014.

Hamilton County
A former client of former Hamilton County attorney Geoffrey P. Damon was reimbursed $1,000 as a result of Damon’s failure to return funds belonging to his client. He was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio in September 2014.

Lake County
Two former clients of former Lake County attorney David H. Davies were reimbursed a total of $66,000 as a result of Davies’ failure to account for funds belonging to his clients. Davies was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio in December 2015.

Montgomery County
Two former clients of suspended attorney Thomas P. Liptock were reimbursed a total of $1,650 as a result of Liptock’s failure to complete the services requested. His license to practice law in Ohio was suspended indefinitely in November 2015.

A former client of Raymond W. O’Neal was reimbursed $4,800 paid to the attorney but not earned. O’Neal’s law license was suspended in December 2012.

Morrow County
A former client of former Morrow County attorney William M. Adams was reimbursed $21,317.50 paid to Adams but not properly accounted for.  Adams resigned from the practice of law in Ohio in April 2014 with discipline pending.

Stark County
Two former clients of Stark County attorney Celeste M. DeHoff, whose law license was suspended indefinitely in March 2015, were reimbursed a total of $1,650 as a result of DeHoff’s failure to provide the services requested.

Summit County
A former client of former Summit County attorney Peter F. Fletcher was reimbursed $1,106 for fees paid to Fletcher for services that he failed to provide. Fletcher was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio in April 2013.

Wayne County
A former client of deceased Wayne County attorney David T. Eager was reimbursed $3,000 paid to Eager for services that he failed to provide prior to his death in May 2015.

The Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection, formerly known as the Clients’ Security Fund, was created in 1985 by the Ohio Supreme Court and is supported from the Attorney Registration Fund. More than $18 million has been awarded to consumers. Ohio has more than 44,000 attorneys engaged in the active practice of law, and less than 1 percent of those attorneys have been involved in reimbursement claims.

Law clients who believe they have sustained financial losses resulting from attorney theft, embezzlement, or misappropriation should call 614.387.9390 or 800.231.1680.

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