A 61-year-old Clermont lawyer has been publicly reprimanded by the Florida Bar after a trust account he maintained came up $30,000 short.
There was no indication that Stewart Lawrence Jacobson intentionally misappropriated the money but rather the shortage was “due to negligent record keeping,” the Bar reported.
Jacobsen had a thriving personal injury practice in South Florida, along with a staff to assist him with legal issues and banking records, before he was in a car accident several years ago, the Bar reported. After the accident, he moved to Clermont, and accepted less demanding mediation and family law cases with no staff to assist him.
“Consequently, due to the lack of staff and issues that continued to impact him, respondent was negligent in the maintenance of his trust account,” the complaint stated.
An audit indicated the trust account contained funds owed to third parties in connection with client matters as well as Jacobsen’s own improperly commingled funds, The Bar reported.
“Although no clients failed to receive their funds, respondent failed to remit to third parties in a timely manner the funds to which they were entitled,” the complaint stated. “In some instances, respondent continued holding third-party funds on deposit in his trust account more than five years after the funds should have been remitted.”
In addition to being publicly reprimanded, Jacobsen will have to attend the Bar’s next scheduled trust accounting workshop and pay case-related costs of $3,263.