White-Collar Crime

Lawyer Facing Client-Fund Claims Is Now Jailed in Auto-Theft Case

It’s been a bad year for Nicholas Andrew Stratas Jr., and things apparently aren’t getting any better for the North Carolina attorney.

Already facing criminal charges and an attorney disciplinary case concerning his claimed mishandling of client money, the 54-year-old Raleigh practitioner is now being held without bail at the New Hanover County jail in a motor vehicle larceny case, reports the Charlotte Observer.

He is accused of taking a Mercedes from an auto dealership for a test drive on Friday and failing to return it prior to his Saturday arrest.

A foreclosure suit is ongoing concerning his law office, the newspaper says.

The Observer article doesn’t include any comment from Stratas or his attorney.

In a disciplinary complaint (PDF) filed in May, the North Carolina State Bar alleges that a client trust account for Stratas’ law firm, Stratas & Weathers, contained nearly $73,000 less than it should have in Nov. 2011.

The complaint also contends that a $24,000 settlement check which a client refused to endorse was deposited, with the client’s purported endorsement, into a law firm operating account.

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