Dec. 5, 2003
34 Victims of Attorney Theft Awarded More Than $360,000 By Clients' Security Fund

Lawyers' fund has awarded more than $8 Million to consumers since inception

The Board of Commissioners of the Clients' Security Fund of Ohio (CSF), met on Friday, Dec. 5, 2003 and awarded $369,365.82 to 34 victims of attorney theft. Twenty-Three former or suspended Ohio attorneys were found to have misappropriated client funds.

A client of disbarred attorney Alfred Dahling was reimbursed $275.00 as a result of his failure to provide the legal services requested. Mr. Dahling, a former judge who is now deceased, practiced law in Lake, Ashtabula, and Trumbull counties. By order dated Oct. 25, 2000, the Supreme Court of Ohio permanently disbarred Mr. Dahling from the practice of law in Ohio. Mr. Dahling passed away on Jan. 20, 2001.

A former client of former Fairborn Municipal Court Judge Joe R. Fodal was awarded $500 as a result of Fodal's failure to provide the legal services requested. Fodal served as judge from 1990 to 1996, when he was defeated in his bid for re-election. Prior to his judgeship, he spent 17 years as the prosecuting attorney for Fairborn, Beavercreek, and Bath Township. In June 2001, the Supreme Court of Ohio indefinitely suspended Mr. Fodal's license to practice law.

The CSF Board of Commissioners also awarded reimbursement to former clients of five Franklin County attorneys as a result of their failure to provide the services requested. Four former clients of suspended attorney Charles E. Smith were reimbursed a total of $5,650 in legal fees paid for services that were not provided. Mr. Smith was indefinitely suspended from the practice of law in Ohio on Dec. 18, 2002. A former client of John J. Connors, Jr. was reimbursed $1,000 in legal fees paid for services that were not provided. Mr. Connors was permanently disbarred by the Supreme Court of Ohio in December 2002. A former client of disbarred attorney R. William Zumstein was reimbursed $199.34 for funds received by Zumstein on behalf of the client. Mr. Zumstein was permanently disbarred by the Supreme Court of Ohio on Oct. 31, 2001. A former client of suspended attorney Michael L. Moushey was also reimbursed $25,000 for funds received by Moushey on behalf of the client. Mr. Moushey was indefinitely suspended from the practice of law in Ohio on Oct. 2, 2002. Former clients of suspended attorney Lawrence E. Winkfield were reimbursed $1,800 in legal fees paid for services that Mr. Winkfield failed to provide. Mr. Winkfield was suspended from the practice of law in Ohio on April 11, 2001.

A former client of suspended Richland County attorney Barry F. Brickley was reimbursed $4,874.95 as a result of Brickley's failure to provide the legal services requested. Mr. Brickley's license to practice law was indefinitely suspended on Dec. 4, 2002.

The CSF Board of Commissioners also awarded reimbursement to former clients of five Cuyahoga County attorneys. Two former clients of suspended attorney Arthur R. Frazier were awarded a total of $5,217 as a result of his failure to provide the legal services requested. Mr. Frazier was indefinitely suspended from the practice of law in Ohio on July 3, 2002. A former client of former attorney Alan Belkin was reimbursed $1,500 in legal fees paid for services that Mr. Belkin failed to provide. Mr. Belkin resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on Aug. 15, 2002. A former client of disbarred attorney Joseph Kral was reimbursed $1,200 in funds misappropriated by Mr. Kral. Mr. Kral was permanently disbarred by the Supreme Court of Ohio on Nov. 8, 2000. Former clients of David Speaker were reimbursed $50,000 as a result of his dishonest conduct. Mr. Speaker resigned from the practice of law in Ohio on April 23, 2002. A former client of suspended attorney Mark McClain was reimbursed $1,000 in legal fees paid for services that Mr. McClain failed to provide. Mr. McClain was indefinitely suspended from the practice of law in Ohio on June 5, 2002.

A client of Former Lucas County attorney Neal Levine was reimbursed $850 as a result of Mr. Levine's failure to provide the legal services requested. Mr. Levine resigned from the practice of law in Ohio on July 23, 1996.

Former clients of three Hamilton County attorneys were also determined to be eligible for reimbursement from the CSF. Three former clients of disbarred attorney R. Bruce Selnick were reimbursed a total of $6,350 as a result of Mr. Selnick's failure to provide the legal services requested. A former client of disbarred attorney William M. Al'Uqdah was reimbursed $550 paid for services that Mr. Al'Uqdah failed to provide. A total of $200,000 was awarded to four former clients of disbarred attorney Allen Schwartz following his misappropriation and/or failure to account for client funds. All three attorneys have been permanently disbarred by the Supreme Court of Ohio.

Former clients of two Summit County attorneys received reimbursement from the CSF as a result of their dishonest conduct. Suspended attorney Shirley Jones was found to have received $625 in fees from one of her former clients, but then failed to provide the services requested. Ms. Jones was indefinitely suspended by the Supreme Court of Ohio on April 9, 2003. A former client of attorney Robert J. Coombs was reimbursed $50,000 which was misappropriated from the client's trust fund by Mr. Coombs. Mr. Coombs resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on May 23, 2002. He is currently serving a five-year prison sentence following his guilty plea to numerous theft charges.

The CSF reimbursed $3,649.53 to a former client of the late Attorney Kenneth H. Inskeep of Trumbull County. Mr. Inskeep, who committed suicide in December 2000, was unable to account for funds belonging to his client.

Former Montgomery County attorney Fuad B. Nasrallah, Jr. accepted fees from three of his former clients but failed to provide the services requested. The CSF Board awarded a total of $3,225 to Mr. Nasrallah's former clients. Mr. Nasrallah was disbarred by the Supreme Court of Ohio on Jan. 16, 2002.

A former client of suspended attorney Charles J. Lantz of Fairfield County was awarded $5,000 as a result of Mr. Lantz's failure to provide the legal services requested. By order dated May 1, 2002 , the Supreme Court of Ohio indefinitely suspended Mr. Lantz from the practice of law in Ohio.

A former client of suspended Wayne County attorney Susan Lutz was reimbursed $600 as a result of Ms. Lutz's failure to provide the services requested. Ms. Lutz was suspended from the practice of law in Ohio on Jan. 22, 2003.

The CSF was created in 1985 by the Supreme Court of Ohio to reimburse victims of attorney theft. The CSF is not taxpayer funded, but funded entirely by registration fees paid by every Ohio attorney. Ohio has over 37,000 attorneys engaged in the active practice of law. Less than one tenth of one percent (1%) of those attorneys are involved in CSF claims.

Law clients who believe they have sustained financial losses resulting from attorney theft, embezzlement or misappropriation should contact the CSF by calling 614.387.9390 or 1.800.231.1680 toll free in Ohio.