Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
Site Map | Feedback
24815 - In the Matter of Stephen English Hunter

Davis Adv. Sh. No. 25
S.E. 2d

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

In The Supreme Court





In the Matter of Stephen

English Hunter, Respondent.





Opinion No. 24815

Submitted June 9, 1998 - Filed July 13, 1998





DISBARRED





Stephen English Hunter, of Greenville, pro se

respondent.





Henry B. Richardson, Jr., of Columbia, Disciplinary

Counsel.





PER CURIAM: In this attorney disciplinary matter, respondent

and disciplinary counsel have entered into an agreement under Rule 21 of the

Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement (RLDE) contained in Rule 413,

SCACR. In the agreement, respondent admits misconduct and consents to be

disbarred from the practice of law. We accept the agreement and disbar

respondent.





Cynthia Schaaf Matter

Respondent represented Cynthia Schaaf regarding a real estate

refinancing transaction beginning in February 1998. The refinancing plan called

for the payoff of certain debts, including a $21,259.61 payoff of a mortgage or

home equity loan held by First Union Mortgage Corporation ("First Union"). On

March 2, 1998, respondent received $70,000.00 relating to this transaction into



p.43


IN THE MATTER OF HUNTER





his law firm trust account. Although respondent was supposed to use these

funds in part to pay the debt owed to First Union, this payment was not made.

Instead, respondent misappropriated $20,000.00 and used the money to purchase

personal investments such as stocks and bonds through an online investing

company. A check dated March 30, 1998 in the amount of $376.92 was

apparently paid to First Union to cover one or two monthly payments on the

loan. It was not until May 5, 1998 that respondent paid off Schaaf's debt to

First Union with a check for $20,976.04. Additionally, respondent admits that

he misappropriated $20,557.76 of an unidentified client's funds to pay most of

the debt to First Union. In response to inquiries by Schaaf during this time

period, respondent intentionally gave Schaaf false and misleading information.



Darrell Hodges Matter



Respondent misappropriated $13,000.00 belonging to his client

Darrell Hodges. By redeeming stock through his online investment account,

respondent paid back this amount on May 11, 1998.





Other Matters

Respondent also admits that to pay back the $20,557.76 he

misappropriated from the unidentified client discussed above in the Schaaf

matter, respondent redeemed stock through his online investment account.

Additionally, he misappropriated and converted yet another unidentified client's

funds in the amount of $10,000.00 to pay back the first unidentified client.





Conclusion

In sum, respondent misappropriated client trust funds in an

approximate amount of $64,000.00 and converted these funds for his own

personal gain by investing the money in various securities. This improper

conduct regarding client funds demonstrates a pattern of violating the Rules of

Professional Conduct. Rule 407, SCACR. Respondent has failed to act with

reasonable diligence and promptness in representing clients. Rule 1.3. He

failed to keep his clients reasonably informed about the status of their matters

and failed to comply with reasonable requests for information. Rule 1.4. He

has repeatedly misappropriated client funds and failed to promptly deliver to a

third party funds it was entitled to receive. Rule 1.15. Respondent has engaged

in morally reprehensible conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit and

misrepresentation. Rule 8.4(d). Through this misconduct, respondent has

clearly demonstrated his unfitness to practice law.





Accordingly, we disbar respondent from the practice of law. Within

fifteen days of the date of this opinion, respondent shall file an affidavit with

the Clerk of Court showing that he has complied with Rule 30, RLDE. In

addition to all other requirements respondent must meet to be reinstated under





p.44


IN THE MATTER OF HUNTER





Rule 33, RLDE, no petition for reinstatement shall be accepted until respondent

has filed proof he has made full restitution to all individuals and institutions

who have lost money as a result of his fraudulent acts or mishandling of trust

funds, to include restitution to the Lawyer's Fund for Client Protection for any

payment it may make.





DISBARRED.











p.45