Lawyer Hailed as Hero for Saving Boy Is Accused of Stealing Client Money
Posted Dec 6, 2011 8:12 AM CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss
An Alabama lawyer credited with saving the life of a boy and his mother last year is facing civil suits filed by four former clients claiming they never received settlement money.
The lawyer, Dana Gentry, lives in Phenix City, Ala., and also practices in Columbus, Ga., the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports. Last year the Columbus City Council recognized Gentry for his courage when he saved a 9-year-old boy and his mother caught in a rip tide in Panama City, Fla.
“Today, Gentry again finds himself in perilous waters, engulfed by a legal maelstrom that includes felony charges and a flurry of lawsuits from former clients who claim he pocketed their settlement money,” the Ledger-Enquirer says. “At least two of the cases involve more than $100,000.”
In one case, he is facing criminal charges stemming from allegations he forged a court order, the story says. The document purports to show that Gentry’s clients in a contract case were awarded $60,000 more than the actual amount. Gentry is accused of telling the clients the money could not be collected because the defendant filed for bankruptcy.
In another case, Gentry is accused of failing to give a client $110,000 in settlement money from a personal injury lawsuit.
The Alabama State Bar has suspended Gentry's license.
Hat tip to Legal Ethics Forum.