Suspended Evansville lawyer disbarred for trust mismanagement, forgery, falsifying doc

Evansville attorney Jared M. Thomas has been disbarred by the Indiana Supreme Court for criminally mismanaging his trust account, forging a judge’s signature and falsifying at least one document.

Thomas was already under an order of interim suspension when the Supreme Court issued the per curiam decision, In the Matter of Jared M. Thomas, 21S-DI-16, on Thursday.

The justices found Thomas violated Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.15(a), failing to safeguard the property of clients and hold client property separately from lawyer property; 8.4(b), committing criminal acts; 8.4(c), engaging in dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation; and 8.4(d), engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.

According to the order, Thomas engaged in a check kiting scheme in which he wrote several checks from his trust account to his operating account and vice versa. His trust account became overdrawn and a $6,000 check that was owed to a client in a marital dissolution case was instead used to reduce the loss written off by the bank when it closed the account.

The Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission is investigating Thomas for several additional matters. As part of one of the investigations, Thomas admitted he fraudulently created a document purporting to order a sentence modification to a client and forged the presiding judge’s signature.

The order cited a prior discipline, Matter of Thomas, 111 N.E.3d 1013 (Ind. 2018), as an aggravating factor. The justices also found Thomas engaged in a pattern of misconduct that was illegal in nature.

“We have imposed severe sanctions in prior cases involving crimes of dishonesty, misappropriation of client funds, creation of fraudulent documents, or forging of signatures,” the order stated, citing Matter of Fraley, 138 N.E.3d 262 (Ind. 2020), Matter of Schuyler, 97 N.E.3d 618 (Ind. 2018), and Matter of Brown, 766 N.E.2d 363 (Ind. 2002). “Here, Respondent admits having done all of these things. These acts demonstrate Respondent’s unfitness to practice law, now or ever.”

According to his firm’s website, Thomas is a 2011 graduate of Valparaiso Law School and runs a solo practice in Evansville.

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