By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — Former local attorney Scott Lennox, 51, St. Clair, Mich., is officially disbarred from practicing law effective immediately.
According to a court document filed May 6 and signed by G. Michael Witte and Julie E. Bennett, executive director and staff attorney for the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission, Lennox has been disbarred for committing “attorney misconduct by neglecting client matters, mismanaging his attorney trust accounts, converting client funds and failing to cooperate with the disciplinary process.”
The Disciplinary Commission filed its complaint against Lennox on Nov. 26, 2019. Court documents list several reasons for Lennox’s disbarment, including that he “failed to maintain appropriate records for two trust accounts and made several unauthorized withdrawals of client funds, converting those funds for his personal use. Lennox also made several unauthorized withdrawals and converted client funds from a third trust account.”
Documents also state that Lennox neglected three client matters and failed to properly communicate with those clients. Lennox also failed to cooperate with the Disciplinary Commission’s investigations into client neglect and financial mismanagement.
“Misappropriation of client funds is a grave transgression,” read the documents. “It demonstrates a conscious desire to accomplish an unlawful act, denotes a lack of virtually all personal characteristics we deem important to law practice, threatens to bring significant misfortune on the unsuspecting client and severely impugns the integrity of the profession.”
Lennox is already under separate orders of suspension for noncooperation and for continuing legal education noncompliance.
On April 9, 2019, Lennox was charged with eight felony criminal charges, including two counts of fraud on a financial institution and six counts of theft.
On Nov. 27, 2018, a Warsaw Police officer met with attorney Matthew Buehler, who was partners with Joseph Sobek and Scott Lennox. Buehler said that Lennox had illegally taken money from three trust accounts and that he had also taken money from the business operating account of Lennox, Sobek and Buehler LLC.
On Oct. 30, 2018, Buehler discovered that Lennox was removing money from the law firm’s trust account for personal use. Buehler removed Lennox from the trust account on Nov. 15, 2018, so that Buehler was the only person authorized to access the trust account funds.
Buehler also said he was notified by the law firm’s bookkeeper that Lennox made a cash withdrawal on Oct. 30, 2018, of $5,500 from the trust account. Similar incidents occurred on Nov. 7, 2018, with a cash withdrawal of $3,500 from the trust account and a $3,000 deposit into the business account; and on Nov. 8, 2018, with a cash withdrawal of $4,000 from the trust account, with $3,500 being deposited into the business account.
On Nov. 29, 2018, a Warsaw police officer spoke with the law firm’s bookkeeper. According to the bookkeeper, she wrote checks at Lennox’s discretion for $7,000 to Bowers Jewelry and $6,000 to The Car Company. Lennox signed both checks. Neither companies were clients of the law firm. The Bowers Jewelry check was for an engagement ring, and The Car Company check was for payment for Lennox’s son’s vehicle.
Lennox received a 12-year suspended sentence on Feb. 28, 2020, and will not have to serve time behind bars if he does not violate any probation department rules. Lennox must also pay $51,088.52 in restitution.