Concord attorney faces disciplinary hearing
02/15/2014 12:55 AM
02/15/2014 12:56 AM
A Concord attorney has been accused by her peers of major professional misbehavior, from embezzling thousands of dollars of her clients’ money to forging dismissals of traffic charges.
Kia Narissa Scott goes before the disciplinary committee of the North Carolina State Bar next month to answer the accusations against her.
Investigators with the legal group have accused Scott of a series of financial irregularities dating back to 2010. According to records in the case, Scott is cooperating with the bar probe. In 2012, the group went to Wake County Superior Court to block her from accepting or handling any money from clients.
According to the complaint, Scott, who was admitted to the bar in 2007, routinely and improperly moved clients’ money between three office accounts, then diverting it for personal or professional use. At times, Scott used one client’s money to pay court costs, fines and fees for other clients whose money she had already exhausted.
In September 2011, a $4,000 check written for a client to CMC Northeast bounced because Scott had diverted the client’s money to other uses, the bar said.
In another example, Scott was hired by a minister accused of embezzlement who wanted to keep his license. The minister made a $3,000 downpayment on Scott’s $4,000 bill, then gave her more than $15,000 to hold in trust for future restitution payments.
Instead, the bar says, Scott transferred the money to her operating accounts.
As a result, the bar has accused Scott of embezzlement and engaging in acts of “dishonesty, fraud, deceit.”
Perhaps the most unusual accusation against her has little to do with money.
According to the bar, on Oct. 19, 2012, Scott appeared in Cabarrus County traffic court in behalf of 10 clients. But she arrived after Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Hancock had completed her plea bargains with defense attorneys. Hancock told Scott she could go to the district attorney’s office and discuss her cases with another prosecutor.
Instead, Scott left the courtroom with the clients’ official case files. When she returned 10 minutes later, the bar says, the files included hand-written notations including “VD,” short for “voluntarily dismissed,” or “IE,” short for ‘improper equipment.”
According to the bar, Scott gave the court the impression that prosecutors had agreed to charge her clients with a lesser offense or to drop the charges entirely. She told Hancock another prosecutor had signed off on the dismissals and plea bargains.
Instead, the bar says, Scott made the notations herself, actions “that reflects adversely on her honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer.”
She later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of common law obstruction of justice.
Scott faces bar punishments ranging from censure to the loss of her law license. Her hearing is scheduled for March 27 and 28 in Raleigh.
Scott could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Her office telephone number had been disconnected.
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