A Florida lawyer named Scott Rovenger pleaded guilty to defrauding his clients of $1 million over 20 years.  According to the news, he “forged signatures on checks and put together fraudulent settlements in order to divert money for himself from law firm trust accounts and repay earlier victims with funds from later victims.”

Rovenger was sentenced to eight years in state prison and ordered to pay restitution to the victims.

Important Rules Attorneys Must Follow Regarding Client Trust Accounts:

  • Attorneys must label and store their client's money in a safe place
  • When an attorney holds money for a client, they must place it in a client trust account
  • A client's trust account must include money received on the client's behalf, advances for costs, expenses and fees
  • In an interest bearing trust account, the interest belongs to the client
  • Attorneys must notify their clients of money received on their behalf and promptly pay money due

Attorneys must act in their client’s best interest.  They are not permitted to use their client's trust accounts as if it is their own.   There are serious penalties for attorneys who defraud their clients.

Have you ever been defrauded by an attorney?