PLATTSBURGH — A local attorney has been suspended by a New York state appeals court for, it says, taking client funds for his own use.
Thomas W. Plimpton of Peru is no longer employed with Stafford, Piller, Murnane, Kelleher & Trombley, according to a statement from the City of Plattsburgh law firm.
“In October 2013, when the members of the firm discovered that Mr. Plimpton apparently converted client funds for his personal use, the matter was immediately investigated,” the statements says.
“The results of the investigation were reported to the Committee on Professional Standards.”
That body investigates complaints made against attorneys, most of which are reported by the general public, according to the organization’s website.
The committee presented the case to the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court on March 24; Plimpton’s counsel was Scott W. Bush of Corrigan, McCoy and Bush in Rensselaer.
The court’s decision said Plimpton admitted to taking clients’ funds between July 2009 and June 2013.
“Upon finding respondent guilty of professional misconduct immediately threatening the public interest, we grant the motion and suspend him from the practice of law pending disposition of the petition of charges,” the decision reads.
Stafford, Piller, Murnane, Kelleher & Trombley “immediately reimbursed the affected clients,” the firm’s statement said.
And afterward, it “conducted an audit of all expenses and bills for Mr. Plimpton, as well as firm billing in general.
“The firm has installed additional financial safeguards to avoid this type of conduct from ever occurring again.”
‘MATTER REMAINS OPEN’
The law firm’s statement did not indicate whether criminal charges would be brought against Plimpton, declining to comment further, “as this matter remains open before the Committee on Professional Standards.”
Plattsburgh City Police had no information regarding any arrest, nor did State Police.
Plimpton, who began practicing law in the Third District of New York in 1997, did not respond to phone messages from the Press-Republican asking for comment.
The Committee on Professional Standards has 21 members — 18 attorneys and three non-attorneys — who serve on the panel without compensation.
They are appointed by the Third Judicial Department of the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court, which handles cases in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties, as well as 25 other upstate counties.
— News Editor Suzanne Moore contributed to this report.