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Published: Friday, 6/11/2010

Lawyers' clients get theft reimbursement

Karyn McConnell Hancock stole $389,000 from her clients. Ten of them got some restitution from attorney license fees. Karyn McConnell Hancock stole $389,000 from her clients. Ten of them got some restitution from attorney license fees.

Ten clients of former lawyer Karyn McConnell Hancock were reimbursed a total of $154,080.53 this week from the Clients' Security Fund of Ohio.

The fund's board of commissioners met Wednesday and awarded a total of $411,230 to 52 victims of attorney theft statewide. Eighteen former or suspended Ohio lawyers and five deceased lawyers were found to have misappropriated client funds.

Convicted in November, 2008, of aggravated theft, McConnell Hancock admitted to stealing more than $624,000 from 22 clients over six years. She was sentenced Jan. 15, 2009, to four years in prison.

As part of her sentence, she was ordered to pay $389,000 in restitution to the client security fund, which is money funded by attorney license fees used to pay victims of attorney fraud.

Authorities said McConnell Hancock would put money into an attorney escrow account for clients of personal-injury cases, probate matters, and real-estate issues, and divert some of the funds for personal use.

Because she ultimately would pay back some of the stolen money with other accounts, the total stolen was about $389,000.

She resigned from the practice of law in 2008.

The board also determined that former clients of two other Lucas County attorneys were eligible for reimbursement. A former client of deceased attorney Anthony P. Georgetti was reimbursed $2,000 for fees paid to Mr. Georgetti before his death on May 24, 2008. The board found that the services were not completed and the fee was not refunded.

A former client of former attorney Gregg D. Hickman was reimbursed $24,000 as a result of his failure to distribute funds deposited with him on behalf of his client. Hickman was permanently disbarred in Ohio in 2008, and sentenced in 2009 to one year in prison after pleading no contest to attempted grand theft.

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