The license of veteran Toledo criminal defense attorney Mohamed Shousher has been suspended for two years, with 18 months of that term stayed, for taking money from clients without doing the legal work.
In a decision released yesterday, the Ohio Supreme Court adopted the findings of the Board of Commissions on Grievance and Discipline against Mr. Shousher, who has been an attorney since 1980.
Mr. Shousher, 52, was investigated for 16 violations of the court's Code of Professional Responsibility, including a criminal case for forging his ex-wife's signature on credit card applications and using the cards to obtain about $500 in cash.
The court found that Mr. Shousher took money in retainer fees from 11 clients and failed to complete the legal services he was hired to perform and that he didn't refund the money or deposit the funds into a client trust account.
The board of commissioners recommended the 18-month stay on the two-year suspension on the condition that he comply with the substance-abuse contract he made with the court's Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program.
The decision said the violations occurred during a period when Mr. Shousher became addicted to prescription pain killers, a habit that began after three surgeries.
It said he has remained sober since August, 2004, when he entered a Florida recovery treatment facility.
He was indicted by a Lucas County grand jury in March, 2005, on two counts of forgery and one count of identity fraud in the credit card case, which occurred in 2004.
Two months later, Common Pleas Court Judge James Bates gave approval for Mr. Shousher to enter into a three-year diversion program in lieu of conviction. The charges will be dismissed upon completion of the program.