Legal Ethics

Clients who entrusted money to lawyer who committed suicide were unaware of surrendered law license

Clients who entrusted money to a Pennsylvania lawyer who committed suicide say they were never told that he surrendered his law license in October.

The lawyer, Jeffrey Mottern, committed suicide on March 17 in his Hummelstown home, three days after federal agents searched his office. Since then his accounts have been frozen and some clients fear the money they invested with Mottern has disappeared, the Patriot News reports.

Mottern surrendered his law license in October while facing pending disciplinary charges. He was supposed to notify his clients, but he didn’t do so, the story says. The only other notice consisted of legal ads in the Patriot News and a legal periodical.

“Who reads them?” asked a woman who told the Patriot News that family members had invested a total of $200,000 with Mottern. One former client had given Mottern as much as $2.2 million to invest, the story says.

Hershey lawyer Mark Winter, who represents some of Mottern’s former clients, told the Patriot News that the case is “the poster child for why maybe there should be more public dissemination of information at the time of the disbarment. It should be almost immediate.”

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