January 21, 2020

Lawyer disbarred for misappropriation

GREENVILLE — Richard Edwards, a lawyer who has offices in Dover-Foxcroft and Greenville, has been disbarred from practicing law in Maine for two years starting in February.

A disciplinary hearing concerning two cases filed by the Board of Overseers of the Bar was held before Justice Paul L. Rudman in mid-December against Edwards. The judge’s decision disbarring Edwards was filed Monday.

The cases specifically involved improper witnessing of a will for the estate of Mildred Carle of Sangerville and the mishandling of funds for a former client, Linda M. Brown and Rum Ridge Farm of Greenville, according to James Chute, a clerk for the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Brown filed civil action against Edwards in Cumberland County Superior Court and was awarded $70,500 plus interest and costs. The counts in the lawsuit involved misappropriation of funds and unjust enrichment involving proceeds of land sales in the Greenville area.

According to information provided by the Law Court on Monday, Edwards admitted allegations and acknowledged that a judgment had been entered against him in an action brought by Brown.

Rudman’s finding said that while offering an explanation for his conduct, Edwards conceded that the explanations did not excuse his failures. The justice concluded that Edwards violated Maine Bar rules.

In his decision, Justice Rudman considered the years of service provided by Edwards, his participation in the volunteer lawyers project, and his willingness to accept court appointments.

“Although the respondent conceded his violations to the rules and apologized to the court, these facts require that the respondent be disbarred,” Rudman wrote.

He said the court retained the right to consider a petition for reinstatement filed after the expiration of two years provided Edwards satisfied the judgment entered against him in Cumberland Superior Court.

Edwards’ disbarment will take effect 30 days from Monday when the order was filed.

The board was represented at the hearing by Karen Kingsley, assistant bar counsel. Edwards was represented by S. Peter Mills of Skowhegan.

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