Bad Lawyers

Attorney Douglas J. Mathis Arrested after 18 Months on the Run
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Douglas J. Mathis

Summary: A Brunswick, Georgia lawyer has finally been arrested after skipping court 18 months ago on charges of theft.

After being in hiding for the past 18 months, a Brunswick attorney has been found and arrested. Glynn County attorney Douglas J. Mathis was charged with theft by deception back in December of 2015. Money given to him by a client for the purchase of a home of St. Simons Island ended up in Mathis’ account. Mathis was placed into custody in Volusia County.

  
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Brunswick police originally arrested Mathis, 55, in November of 2015 for theft after an investigation conducted by Sgt. Roy Blackstock. Mathis had been disbarred the previous month in Georgia. They booked him into the Glynn County jail where he stayed until he posted the $162,058 bail. Mathis was released and never heard from again until his arrest in Daytona Beach Shores this past weekend.

Mathis was arrested by Daytona Beach Shores Public Safety Offices for burglary of an unoccupied dwelling and petty theft. They are holding him without bail this time on two warrants from Glynn County. When Mathis never showed up for court after his first arrest, a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Mathis kept on the move for the next 18 months by using his family’s numerous properties and a boat. While he was on the run, the one charge of theft against him grew to eight more charges of theft by conversion for a total 10-count racketeering indictment returned by a Glynn County jury in June of 2016. With these new charges brought against Mathis but without him there to answer to them, a second bench warrant was issued.

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The new indictment, under the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, details how Mathis used his law office as a “racketeering enterprise” to embezzle money from his clients to enrich himself. The document states his law office “had as its ostensible purpose to engage in the practice of law, but was instead utilized to embezzle funds by Douglas J. Mathis from his clients and to enrich himself through a pattern of racketeering activity.”

He was the trustee of the Richard D. Whitney Irrevocable Trust, enabling the ability to write checks for the trust account. He would then deposit the checks into one of his accounts. He allegedly wrote seven checks between September 2009 and January 2014 for a total of $22,077.80.



One of his clients, James O. Fleming, was purchasing real estate on St. Simons Island. Fleming gave the money to Mathis to be transferred to the seller and to pay for closing costs and other expenses. Mathis placed the money in his personal account instead of transferring it to the seller. He allegedly kept over $25,000 of Fleming’s money. The purchase of the real estate was for $235,000, according to Glynn County Assistant District Attorney Liberty Stewart.

Do you think an attorney that is tempted by the money entrusted to them is already a crooked person? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about attorneys on the run, read these articles:

Photo: jacksonville.com



 

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