The state Supreme Court has disbarred former Murrells Inlet lawyer William Thomas Moody for misappropriating his clients’ money, lying to a judge and other ethical violations, according to a court order issued Wednesday.
Moody was placed on interim suspension in January while the state’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel investigated a complaint filed by his former law partner.
The order outlines several instances of misconduct, including the theft of $15,000 from a client’s trust account, which Moody invested into a commercial real estate venture arranged by one of his friends. When that venture failed, Moody took $34,500 from another client’s account and funneled it through a limited liability corporation he had formed to replace the first client’s funds and pay personal expenses, according to the order.
In another instance, Moody accepted a series of $500 checks from a client with the understanding that those checks were to be used to make monthly payments to an opposing party in a business lawsuit. Moody delivered some of the checks to the opposing party, the order states, but cashed $3,500 of them for his own use. Moody eventually paid that money back to his client.
Moody also is accused of lying to a judge by stating that he had not received an opposing counsel’s court filing when, in fact, he had received it months earlier. Moody, in that case, also failed to tell his clients that their case had been dismissed. Those clients did not learn about the dismissal until after they retrieved their case file following Moody’s interim suspension.
Also, Moody is accused of taking $750 from a client but failing to do any substantial work on her case for more than three years.
The misconduct took place between 2010 and this year, including after Moody’s interim suspension. Moody previously had received misconduct warning letters from the state’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel in 2007 and 2010, according to the order.