Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

29 Victims of Attorney Theft Awarded more than $228,000

The Board of Commissioners of the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection awarded $228,100 to 29 victims of attorney theft at its September meeting in Columbus. Eight former or suspended Ohio attorneys were found to have misappropriated client funds. Claims also included the work of three attorneys who have since died.

Financed primarily by registration fees paid by every Ohio attorney, the fund was created by the Supreme Court in 1985. Ohio has more than 44,000 active-status attorneys with only a fraction involved in claims. Clients who believe they have sustained financial losses resulting from attorney theft, embezzlement, or misappropriation should contact the fund at 800.231.1680.

The Board awarded reimbursement to former clients of four former Cuyahoga County attorneys.

  • A former client of deceased attorney Joseph J. Corso was reimbursed $500 as a result of Corso’s failure to provide requested services prior to his death in January 2016.
  • A former client of former attorney Paul M. Kaufman was reimbursed $9,000 because of Kaufman’s failure to account for settlement proceeds obtained on his client’s behalf. Kaufman resigned from the practice of law in Ohio with discipline pending in April 2015.
  • A former client of deceased attorney Kenard McDuffie was reimbursed $1,500 as a result of the attorney’s failure to complete the requested services prior to his death in October 2015.
  • Four former clients of former attorney Teddy Sliwinski were reimbursed a total of $168,667 because of his failure to account for funds received on his clients’ behalf. Sliwinski resigned from the practice of law with discipline pending in November 2015.

The board also awarded reimbursements totaling $18,700 to six former clients of Franklin County attorney Javier H. Armengau as a result of Armengau’s failure to provide the services requested. Armengau was suspended from the practice of law in September 2014, following his felony conviction on an unrelated matter.

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

  • Two former clients of former attorney Robert H. Hoskins were reimbursed a total of $3,350 because of the attorney’s failure to provide the requested services. Hoskins was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio on May 23, 2017.
  • Two former clients of suspended attorney Rasheed A. Simmonds were reimbursed a total of $2,475 as a result of Simmonds’ failure to provide the services requested. Simmonds was suspended from the practice of law in Ohio on March 9, 2017.

Two former clients of deceased Hancock County attorney Gabriel W. Poland were reimbursed a total of $10,150 because of Poland’s failure to provide the requested legal services prior to his death in January 2016.

A former client of former Licking County attorney Stephanie G. Gussler was reimbursed $2,500 as a result of the attorney’s failure to provide the services requested. Gussler resigned from the practice of law in Ohio with discipline pending in September 2016.

A former client of suspended Miami County attorney Jeffrey S. Brumbaugh was reimbursed $5,200 as a result of Brumbaugh’s failure to provide the services requested. Brumbaugh’s license to practice law in Ohio was suspended indefinitely on May 25, 2017.

Eight former clients of suspended Trumbull County attorney Robert L. Johnson were reimbursed a total of $6,058 because of Johnson’s failure to provide the services requested. Johnson’s license to practice law in Ohio was suspended indefinitely on July 20, 2017.

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