AUGUSTA, Maine — The Trustees for the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection has reimbursed $2,500 to two individuals who suffered losses caused by the dishonest conduct of their attorneys.
Money was disbursed to former clients of Carolyn M. Asquith of Yarmouth and Philip L. Ingeneri of Bangor. Claims involving Asquith’s former practice totaled $1,500 while those from Ingeneri’s amounted to $1,000, according to a press release issued Wednesday by the fund.
Ingeneri has resigned from the practice of law. Asquith is suspended from practicing, according to the release.
The fund was created in 1997 by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to promote public confidence in the administration of justice and the integrity of the legal profession, by reimbursing clients who suffer losses caused by an attorney’s dishonest conduct, the release said. Generally, such conduct involves the misuse of funds in the care of the attorney or the misappropriation of amounts for the attorney’s personal benefit.
The fund was not designed to address losses caused by legal malpractice and no amounts are payable to clients for such activity, according to the release.
“The attorney-client relationship depends upon the trust of clients,” Paul Sighinolfi, chairman of the fund said. “It is a shame when a few attorneys betray that trust and tarnish the reputation of the entire profession.”
All active Maine attorneys contribute to the fund through a $20 annual assessment to their annual license fee. None of the money in the fund comes from client fees or tax dollars.
More than $300,000 in reimbursements has been made to clients since the fund was created in 1997.
For more information about the fund, consult the fund’s website at www.mebaroverseers.org/lawyers_fund/index.shtml or call 623-7801.