Darious E. Easton received the money as a result of actions by former attorney Paul Bruno Kusbach, who resigned in 2002. Kusbach was sentenced in April 2004 to federal prison for four years and nine months for stealing money from clients; he was ordered to pay $1.2 million in restitution to 26 separate clients.
This was the maximum amount that could be awarded by the Clients' Financial Assistance Fund, which has been around since 1962 and helps uphold the integrity of the Indiana Legal Profession by covering some losses suffered by clients of dishonest Hoosier attorneys. Money was last awarded in March to three individuals - each award was less than $5,000, meaning the board of governors did not have to approve the amounts.
Fund Committee Chair Jon Pactor, a sole practitioner in Indianapolis, describes this fund as a method not very well known throughout the Indiana legal community.
"These acts are often theft-related and don't happen very often so aren't on attorneys' radar screens," he said. "This is a way to help restore dignity to the bar or collectively say, 'This is wrong,' and it's a last effort to get compensation for someone. We recognize our professional obligation to do that."