Bad Lawyers

Tampa Lawyer Accused of Stealing Almost $1 Million from Clients
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Summary: A Tampa lawyer allegedly stole almost a million dollars from his clients.

What would you do with a million dollars? Buy a house? Buy a Bentley? Buy a bunch of guns and gamble?

  
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The latter is what allegedly thieving attorney James Lee Clark did when presented with six figures worth of cash. According to local ABC News, Tampa-based Clark is now suspended by the Florida Bar. After an investigation into his bank records, authorities found that he had spent almost one million dollars of his clients’ money at fancy restaurants, casinos, and gun stores.

ABC News spoke to Janet Crawford, a client swindled by Clark. She said that she hired the attorney to help her and her husband with their home foreclosure. They fell behind on  payments after her husband got cancer, and she said that Clark advised her to sign over her home to a shell company owned by his former roommate and paralegal Eric Liebman. She said that Liebman was supposed to pay them $5,000 and that the Crawford bank loan would be forgiven. She stated that none of those things happened.

Instead, Liebman leased out the home to another family and accepted rental payments. The renters allegedly believed that they were in a leasing-to-own arrangement, and the Crawford’s eventually filed for bankruptcy.

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ABC News learned of another victim of Clark’s. Morgan & Morgan attorney L. Reed Bloodworth said that he represents a client who sold assisted living homes for almost $900,000. Bloodworth said that Clark stole his client’s money after Clark transferred money from the client’s trust into his own bank account.

The Florida Bar subpoenaed Clark’s bank records, which showed he spent money on fancy vacations, over $518,000 at the Hard Rock Casino, $13,000 at bars and liquor stores, $21,000 at gun stores and $17,000 on meals at a casino steakhouse. His suspension went into effect last month, and he had previously been reprimanded by the Florida Bar for failing to diligently represent clients.



Crawford told ABC News that she learned from the ordeal to always check into people’s backgrounds before hiring them and to not blindly trust anyone.

Source: ABC News

What do you think will happen to Clark? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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