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Sept. 14, 2010
Victims of Attorney Theft Awarded More Than $260,000 by Clients' Security Fund

The Board of Commissioners of the Clients’ Security Fund of Ohio (CSF) awarded $267,235 to 33 victims of attorney theft at its meeting Friday. Twenty former or suspended Ohio attorneys were found to have misappropriated client funds. Three deceased Ohio attorneys were also involved in the claims presented to the board.

Access the Supreme Court of Ohio's online docket for more information about the disciplinary cases against some of these attorneys.

Ashtabula County
The board determined that a former client of former attorney James M. Lemieux was eligible for reimbursement of $30,250. Lemieux settled his client’s personal injury claim without her knowledge or consent and then misappropriated the proceeds. He resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on Aug. 3, 2006.

Butler County
The board determined that a former client of disbarred Butler County attorney Karan M. Horan was eligible for reimbursement of a $1,000 fee paid for services that were not provided. Horan was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio on Aug. 26, 2009.

Cuyahoga County
The board determined that former clients of eight Cuyahoga County attorneys were eligible for reimbursement. Four former clients of deceased attorney David H. Drucker were reimbursed a total of $3,875 as a result of Drucker’s failure to provide the services requested before his death on June 24, 2008.

A former client of suspended attorney Dea Lynn Character was reimbursed $50,550 as a result of Character’s conversion of client funds. Character’s license to practice law was suspended on Oct. 30, 2009, after her felony conviction. She is currently serving a four-year prison sentence.

A former client of former attorney John A. Frenden was reimbursed $900 as a result of Frenden’s failure to provide the services requested. Frenden resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on Aug. 25, 2009.

A former client of deceased attorney Sebraien M. Haygood was reimbursed $75,000 as a result of Haygood’s conversion of client funds. Haygood died on June 26, 2008.

A former client of former attorney James L. Major Jr. was reimbursed $1,250 as a result of Major’s failure to provide the services requested. Major resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on Sept. 28, 2007.

A former client of suspended attorney Howard V. Mishler was reimbursed $8,800 as a result of Mishler’s failure to provide the services requested. Mishler’s license to practice law in Ohio was suspended on April 23, 2008. 

A former client of former attorney Cynthia D. Smith was reimbursed $2,016 as a result of Smith’s failure to provide the services requested. Smith resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on Oct. 23, 2007.

A former client of suspended attorney Rene’ Darlene Smith was reimbursed $800 as a result of Smith’s failure to provide the services requested. Smith’s license to practice law in Ohio was suspended on Dec. 3, 2008.

Fairfield County
A former client of former attorney Steven E. Zigan was reimbursed $100 as a result of Zigan’s failure to provide the services requested. Zigan was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio on May 1, 2008.

Franklin County
The board determined that former clients of three Franklin County attorneys were eligible for reimbursement. Three former clients of suspended attorney Madry L. Ellis were reimbursed a total of $3,750 as a result of Ellis’s failure to provide the services requested. Ellis’ license to practice law in Ohio was suspended on Oct. 16, 2008.

A former client of former attorney C. Mark Kiesling was reimbursed $7,854 as a result of Kiesling’s conversion of client funds. Kiesling was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio on April 12.

Two former clients of former attorney LeRoy A. Nichols were reimbursed a total of $11,292 as a result of Nichols’ failure to provide the services requested. Nichols resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on Oct. 27, 2008.

Gallia County
A former client of former attorney John R. Lentes was reimbursed $500 as a result of Lentes’ failure to provide the services requested. Lentes was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio on Dec. 11, 2008.

Hamilton County
The board determined that a former client of suspended Hamilton County attorney Kenneth L. Lawson was eligible for reimbursement of $25,500 in legal fees paid to Lawson for services that he failed to provide. Lawson’s license to practice law in Ohio was suspended on July 31, 2009, following his criminal conviction. 

Lucas County
The board determined that former clients of three Lucas County attorneys were eligible for reimbursement. A former client of suspended attorney Darrell M. Crosgrove was reimbursed $500 as a result of Crosgrove’s failure to provide the services requested. Crosgrove’s license to practice law in Ohio was suspended on Feb. 2, 2009, following his conviction of a felony.

A former client of former attorney Gregg D. Hickman was reimbursed $18,500 as a result of his failure to provide the services requested. Hickman was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio on Aug. 6, 2008.

Three former clients of former attorney Karyn McConnell Hancock were reimbursed a total of $18,223 as a result of her conversion of client assets and failure to provide the services requested. Hancock resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on April 29, 2008.

Stark County
The board determined that two former clients of former Stark County attorney Edward S. Asper were eligible for reimbursement of a total of $425 as a result of Asper’s failure to provide the services requested. Asper resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on Sept. 15, 2008.

Summit County
The board determined that former clients of two former Summit County attorneys were eligible for reimbursement. Two former clients of former attorney Edward P. Markovich were reimbursed a total of $650 as a result of his failure to provide the services requested. Markovich resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on Oct. 16, 2008.

A former client of deceased attorney Lawrence R. Smith was reimbursed $2,500 in legal fees paid to Smith before his death on June 17, 2008. The board found that the services were not completed and the fee was not refunded.

Warren County
A former client of former attorney Bernard S. Marshall Jr. was reimbursed $3,000 as a result of Marshall’s failure to provide the services requested. Marshall was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio on Feb. 12, 2009.

The CSF was created in 1985 by the Supreme Court to reimburse victims of attorney theft, embezzlement or misappropriation. The CSF is not taxpayer funded, but funded entirely by registration fees paid by every Ohio attorney. Ohio has more than 42,000 attorneys engaged in the active practice of law. Less than one tenth of 1 percent of those attorneys is involved in CSF claims.

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

Contact: Janet Green Marbley, 614.387.9390, or Chris Davey, 614.387.9250.