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Jacksonville lawyer’s license suspended after audit finds $107K ‘shortage’ in client funds

In World
May 06, 2024
Closeup of gavel in court room

Closeup of gavel in court room

A Jacksonville attorney’s law license has been suspended over an audit that concluded more than $100,000 was missing at times from a trust fund for clients’ money.

“It is also my professional opinion that client funds were misappropriated,” Florida Bar auditor Matthew Herdeker wrote in an affidavit that was attached to the Bar’s emergency request for the Florida Supreme Court to suspend James Alfred Stanley Jr.

The court approved the request April 26 after the Bar warned that Stanley “has caused, or is likely to cause, immediate and serious harm to clients or the public” by misusing money that’s supposed to be carefully protected.

Jacksonville attorney James Alfred Stanley Jr. worked from this office on University Boulevard West before his law licenses was suspended last week.

Jacksonville attorney James Alfred Stanley Jr. worked from this office on University Boulevard West before his law licenses was suspended last week.

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Stanley, an attorney since 1989, didn’t respond to phone and email messages seeking comment.

The Supreme Court told Stanley to stop taking on any new clients or lawsuits, wind down his existing law practice within a month and stop doing anything where he has to watch out for someone else’s financial interest.

The order is the result of a Bar investigation that started because a bank account for Stanley’s practice was overdrawn last fall.

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PNC Bank reported the overdraft to the Bar because the account was used to hold Stanley’s clients’ money in trust, and in November the Bar asked Stanley, a trial attorney with backgrounds in administrative law and worker’s comp, to explain the $1,046 shortfall.

In January, the Bar started a compliance audit and asked Stanley for a stack of records, but only got part of what it requested, the Bar told the Supreme Court in its suspension petition. So, the Bar subpoenaed records from PNC going back to 2021 and Herdeker got to work.

“Upon review of the PNC Bank records, the Bar’s auditor calculated a shortage in the trust account ranging from at least $30,131.46 to at least $107,630.00 from June 2023 to January,” the petition said.

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Audit reports $100K account ‘shortage’; Jacksonville lawyer suspended

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