Is Lack of Experience Taken Into Consideration When a Lawyer Wrongfully Disburses Trust Account Funds ?
In Florida Bar v. Behrman, 658 So. 2d 95 (Fla. 1995), the referee found that while Behrman wrongfully disbursed trust account funds, he did not act criminally or fraudulently. 658 So. 2d at 96.
The referee also noted that Behrman had limited experience in the practice of law. Id. at 97.
In the instant cases, Korones, who has thirty-six years of experience in the practice of law, admitted that he converted the funds that he knew belonged to the other residual beneficiaries and then filed a false accounting to hide his misappropriation.
We conclude that Korones' conduct in the instant cases is far more egregious than that of the attorney in Behrman.
In and Florida Bar v. Cramer, 643 So. 2d 1069 (Fla. 1994), the attorney became delinquent in employee taxes after being out of the office for five months with serious medical problems. 643 So. 2d at 1069-70. Fearing that the Internal Revenue Service would garnish his operating account, Cramer left legal fees that he had earned in his trust account. Id. at 1070.
Money from the trust account was then used to pay operating and personal expenses. Id.
Cramer also deposited trust account funds from a client into his operating account. Id.
He later deposited personal funds into the trust account to replace the money removed. Id.
This Court found that Cramer's misuse of the trust account to deceive the IRS constituted dishonest and deceitful behavior. Id.
Nevertheless, this Court followed the referee's recommendation of a ninety-day suspension because:
(1) Cramer had serious health problems;
(2) none of Cramer's clients were injured by Cramer's conduct;
(3) Cramer fully cooperated with the Bar. Id. at 1070-71.