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June 29, 2011
Victims of Attorney Theft Awarded More Than $288,000 by Clients' Security Fund

The Board of Commissioners of the Clients’ Security Fund of Ohio (CSF) awarded $288,352.46 to 39 victims of attorney theft at its meeting Friday. Twenty-three former or suspended attorneys were found to have misappropriated client funds. The cases of five deceased attorneys were also involved in the claims presented to the board.

The CSF was created in 1985 by the Supreme Court of Ohio 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 43,000 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.

Click here to access more information about the disciplinary cases against some of these attorneys via the Supreme Court’s online docket.

Cuyahoga County
The board determined that former clients of seven attorneys were eligible for reimbursement.

A former client of suspended attorney Dwight E. Davis was reimbursed $2,898 as a result of Davis’ failure to account for settlement funds belonging to his client. Davis’ license to practice law in Ohio was suspended indefinitely on March 18, 2009.

A former client of deceased attorney David H. Drucker was reimbursed $1,000 because Drucker was unable to complete the services requested before his death on June 24, 2008.

A former client of disbarred attorney John P. Hildebrand Jr. was reimbursed $2,050 as a result of Hildebrand’s failure to refund unearned fees. Hildebrand was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio on Dec. 1, 2010.

A former client of former attorney Timothy J. Jarabek was reimbursed $500 as a result of Jarabek’s failure to refund unearned fees. Jarabek’s license to practice law in Ohio was suspended on Feb. 25, 2009.

A former client of disbarred attorney Howard V. Mishler was reimbursed $1,300 as a result of Mishler’s failure to refund unearned fees. Mishler was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio on Dec. 14, 2010.

A former client of deceased attorney Herbert Palkovitz was reimbursed $2,330.15 because Palkovitz was unable to complete the services requested before his death on April 5, 2008.

A former client of former attorney Cynthia D. Smith was reimbursed $610 as a result of Smith’s failure to refund unearned fees. Smith resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on Oct. 23, 2007.

Franklin County
The board awarded reimbursement to former clients of five attorneys.

Two former clients of former attorney Philip L. Allen were reimbursed a total of $5,000 as a result of Allen’s failure to refund unearned fees. Allen resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on March 4, 2010.

A former client of suspended attorney Kenneth R. Boggs was reimbursed $1,300 as a result of Boggs’ failure to refund unearned fees. Boggs’ license to practice law in Ohio was suspended indefinitely on June 7.

A former client of deceased attorney Lois L. Lanker was reimbursed $335 because Lanker was unable to complete the services requested before her death on July 3, 2008.

Three former clients of former attorney Van A. Gander were reimbursed a total of $6,879 as a result of Gander’s failure to refund unearned fees. Gander resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on Sept. 8, 2010.

A former client of former attorney William A. Gardner was reimbursed $11,027.25 as a result of Gardner’s failure to distribute settlement proceeds received on behalf of his client. Gardner resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on June 18, 2009.

Gallia County
The board determined that a former client of disbarred attorney James R. Henry was eligible for reimbursement of $300. Henry failed to refund unearned fees belonging to his client. Henry was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio on Dec. 22, 2010.

Geauga County
The board determined that former clients of two suspended attorneys were eligible for reimbursement.

A former client of Charles H. Manning was reimbursed the maximum CSF award amount of $75,000 as a result of his conversion of client funds. Manning’s license to practice law in Ohio was suspended on June 16 as a result of his theft conviction on Feb. 15.

A former client of Paul N. Peterson was reimbursed $67,500 as a result of Peterson’s conversion of client funds. Peterson’s license to practice law in Ohio was suspended on Dec. 8, 2010, following his felony conviction in November 2010.

Highland County
The board reimbursed $66,500 to a former client of former attorney John W. Slagle. Slagle failed to account for settlement funds belonging to his client. Slagle resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on Feb. 25, 2009.

Huron County
Three former clients of deceased attorney Gregory A. Shell were reimbursed a total of $2,600 as a result of his failure to refund unearned fees. Shell died on Aug. 16, 2008.

Lucas County
A former client of former attorney William A. Garrett was reimbursed $18,425.06 as a result of his conversion of client funds. Garrett resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on Nov. 24, 2010.

Mahoning County
A former client of former attorney Joseph R. Rafidi was reimbursed $5,000 as a result of Rafidi’s failure to refund unearned fees. Rafidi resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on June 24, 2009.

Preble County
A former client of suspended attorney Andrew F. Siehl was reimbursed $2,500 as a result of Siehl’s failure to refund unearned fees. Siehl’s license to practice law in Ohio was suspended indefinitely on Nov. 18, 2009.

Ross County
A former client of former attorney Rebecca E. Bobb was reimbursed $1,500 as a result of Bobb’s failure to refund unearned fees. Bobb resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on Sept. 24, 2010.

Sandusky County
The board determined that former clients of two attorneys were eligible for reimbursement.

A former client of suspended attorney George M. Evans were reimbursed $250 as result of Evans’ failure to refund unearned fees. Evans’ license to practice law in Ohio was suspended indefinitely on Aug. 25, 2009.

Three former clients of former attorney Andrew C. Lockshin were reimbursed a total of $4,700 as a result of Lockshin’s failure to refund unearned fees. Lockshin resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on Nov. 24, 2010.

Stark County
The board determined that former clients of three attorneys were eligible for reimbursement.

A former client of former attorney Edward S. Asper was reimbursed $500 as a result of Asper’s failure to refund unearned fees. Asper resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on Sept. 15, 2008.

Five former clients of suspended attorney Glenn M. Schiller were reimbursed a total of $4,348 as a result of his failure to refund unearned fees. Schiller’s license to practice law in Ohio was suspended indefinitely on Sept. 23, 2009.

A former client of suspended attorney Tim M. Watterson was reimbursed $2,500 as a result of Watterson’s failure to refund unearned fees. Watterson’s license to practice law in Ohio was suspended indefinitely on July 18, 2007.

Summit County
The board determined that former clients of two attorneys were eligible for reimbursement.

A former client of former attorney Francis M. Pignatelli was eligible for reimbursement of $750 as a result of his failure to refund unearned fees. Pignatelli resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on May 19.

A former client of deceased attorney Thomas M. McNerney Sr. was reimbursed $750 as a result of McNerney’s failure to refund unearned fees. McNerney died on Nov. 13, 2009.

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