Bad Lawyers

Clearwater Lawyer Facing Grand Theft Charge
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John Smitten

Summary: A Clearwater law firm investigation discovered a missing $100,000 possibly taken from one of their lawyers.

John Smitten has been accused by McGuire Law Offices of depositing roughly $115,500 of client money into his personal bank account. The investigation determined that the 47-year-old lawyer stole over $100,000 in cash and checks from at least 82 of the law firm’s clients between February 2012 and July 2014.

  
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John McGuire went to the police to report the theft after he confronted Smitten multiple times about a $25 check that Smitten had not turned over to the firm’s bookkeeper for deposit. McGuire apparently told Smitten he was going to have the bookkeeper audit Smitten’s finances, which led Smitten to confess to misappropriating funds. Smitten told McGuire he would repay what he had taken.

When an officer confronted Smitten, he denied everything, claiming that he and McGuire “divided the money fairly and amicably per our relationship.” Days later, Smitten left a voicemail for McGuire pleading to work things out. Smitten signed a handwritten agreement stating he would repay the $500,000 he took from the firm from his paycheck.

The law firm has since sued Smitten, saying he stole $500,000 from the firm between 2006 and 2014. Smitten has paid back $1,330 per his arrest on February 17. He is facing grand theft for stealing over $100,000.

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The Florida Bar has opened an investigation into Smitten and the allegations against him. Smitten is listed as a lawyer with Carey Leisure & Neal in Clearwater, Florida.

Do you think Smitten should lose his license? Tell us in the comments below.



To learn more about lawyers in trouble for misappropriating funds, read these articles:

Smitten Photo: careyandleisure.com

McGuire Photo: mcguirelawoffices.com



 

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