It’s been a bad couple of weeks for Clint Johnson and the Johnson Law Group. Along with the lawsuit by the Colorado Attorney General for offering debt relief services in Colorado without a license. This is on top of the ongoing issue with the suit alleging Johnson Law Group in Florida improperly acquired the clients from Johnson Law Group in Nevada. See this story for Johnson’s deposition on this matter.
Clint Johnson, the lawyer behind the Johnson Law Group that manages over 13,000 clients in the Johnson Law Group Debt Management Division has had his license to practice law suspended in an emergency hearing by the Supreme Court of Florida.
According to public records, on April 12, 2011 the Supreme Court of Florida suspended Johnson from the practice of law until further notice. The order prevents Johnson from representing any clients, and to stop disbursing any funds from trust accounts he controls, including those of his credit counseling and debt settlement clients. – Source
WFTV in Orlando Florida has a video on Johnson’s alleged misuse of funds, which is at the heart of this matter.
An Orlando lawyer had his law license suspended by the Florida Supreme Court after the Florida Bar accused him of using his clients’ trust fund accounts for his own personal use. He allegedly bought airline tickets, a luxury sports car, and made out checks to himself.
The Florida Bar has now suspended attorney Clint Johnson of the Johnson Law Group. Documents accuse him of misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars of his clients’ money.
The Attorney General is also investigating Johnson. The Attorney General’s Office said it has received at least 24 complaints for consumer trade violations.
In the meantime, the Florida Supreme Court has suspended his license for possible misuse of funds. – Source
WFTV reports the Florida bar spent eight months investigating Johnson. Johnson is now asking the court to allow him to continue to practice under strict guidelines. He says he needs to continue to disburse funds on behalf of the 13,000 clients he represents.
In a 24 page response to the Supreme Court of Florida Johnson and his legal counsel have said “Johnson’s law firm trust account irregularities [which included shortages] were not the product of Respondent stealing from his clients. Rather, they are the product of a negligent failure to adopt and maintain a proper bookkeeping system for his law firm at its outset; this was aggravated by later placing the debt-settlement business and its accounts under the umbrella of the law firm and its flawed trust accounting system.” – Source
In Johnson’s plea to the Supreme Court as to why the restriction should be made to allow him to disburse funds from his accounts, it says, “The caveat for participating in the credit counseling programs is the client must make all payments to the creditor on time and cannot miss any payments. Failure to comply with the payment schedule is immediate grounds for termination from the program. These counseling programs are only offered to consumers/clients once. Should the consumer fail to meet the obligations of the program, they are generally not permitted to participate in the program again.” – Source. This is an interesting statement because in the cases of fraud and abuse creditors have been more than willing to allow consumers to transfer their accounts to another agency.
According to Mr. Johnson’s attorney, Mr. Chandler Muller, there is not update on the release of client funds. He told me the “Referee has not ruled yet.”
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