TEXAS LAWYER ACCUSED OF MISHANDLING CLIENTS’ FUNDS
In his role as ad litem, or an attorney approved by a judge to represent minors, Coates was expected to accept rewards from insurance companies and place the money into a court registry. Court registries are used to hold children’s money until they reach the age of 18, at which point they are able to achieve their award. In some cases, Coates did deposit the money into the registry by the time the client reached adulthood. However, in many instances, the money wasn’t there when the client attempted to access it. “Mr. Coates acknowledges his mistakes in handling funds which were to benefit minors in cases where he was an attorney ad litem,” said Coates lawyers. “Mr. Coates accepts the punishment for the crime he committed and looks forward to returning to work and to his family in the very near future.”
CONTACT THE PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEYS AT BANDAS LAW FIRM
The personal injury attorney from Austin pleaded guilty to felony aggravated misapplication of fiduciary property and agreed to a ten-year prison sentence. Coates also reportedly returned $600,000 he had withheld from clients before the deal was reached. According to Assistant District Attorney Gail Van Winkle, Coates could be released on probation after six months if he performs required actions, such as relinquishing his law license. “Our goal was to make sure these children were compensated,” said Van Winkle. “If we had not gotten involved, there may have been a lot of children who may not have gotten compensated.” Victims of serious injuries in Texas should consider this story an important reason to enlist the help of only the most reputable personal injury attorneys after being involved in an accident. Here at Bandas Law Firm, Chris Bandas and our team of personal injury lawyers understand how devastating a severe injury can be, and we will work hard to help you seek fair and timely reimbursement for your injuries.