White-Collar Crime

Disbarred Ex-Judge Who Survived 1994 Deposition Shooting Now Faces Money-Laundering Case

After surviving a 1994 shooting during a civil case deposition in which his client and another lawyer were shot to death by the pro se opposing party, a South Florida attorney subsequently told a local newspaper that every day is a blessing.

Maurice J. Hall, 63, is now facing a new challenge, after coming forward in 2010 and admitting to state bar authorities that he had been involved in a “Ponzi-like scheme” for at least 12 years since opening his own law office in 1996, reports the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (sub. req.). He used the money to cover business expenses and his own salary at the West Palm Beach firm, thinking that he would someday win a big legal fee that he could use to repay funds taken from client settlements deposited into his attorney trust account.

As a result of his admissions, Hall, who served as a Palm Beach Circuit Court judge prior to 1987, has been disbarred.

Now he is charged with money-laundering in state court, concerning funds he allegedly washed through the trust account. Freed Monday on $3,000 bond, he couldn’t be reached for comment by the newspaper.

A 2002 opinion (PDF) of the Florida Supreme Court concerning an appeal filed by the convicted shooter, Dr. Julio Mora, describes the fatal deposition shooting in detail, aided by a tape recording that was being made to help the court reporter understand the foreign accents of those participating.

The Palm Beach Post says Hall was seriously injured in the shooting, losing half his intestines in two operations he endured within a week of the attack.

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