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24872 - In the matter of Synthia R. Glover

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

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

In The Supreme Court

In the matter of Synthia R. Glover, Respondent.

Opinion No. 24872

Heard October 20, 1998 - Filed December 29, 1998

INDEFINITE SUSPENSION

Attorney General Charles M. Condon, Assistant

Deputy Attorney General J. Emory Smith, Jr., both

of Columbia, for the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

Coming B. Gibbs, Jr., of Charleston, for respondent.





PER CURIAM: This is an attorney disciplinary matter.

Respondent misappropriated client funds for personal use, co-mingled

personal funds with client funds, was involved in a check kiting scheme

between her trust account and general operating account, and failed to pay

medical providers on behalf of her clients. Respondent admitted the charges.





The Sub-Panel took into consideration respondent's previously clean

disciplinary record, her remorse, and the personal problems which

respondent was experiencing during this time period. Respondent's

mother suffers from Alzheimer's disease and respondent has been her

primary caregiver.1 This created an emotional, physical, and financial

hardship on respondent which left her severely depressed.2 The Sub-Panel


1 Initially, respondent cared for her mother by driving from

Charleston to Beaufort several times a week but later her mother moved

in with her and respondent was and still is her primary caregiver.





2 Her doctor, Dr. E. Michael Limkin, testified that on a scale of 1 to

10 with a 6 being someone who would require hospitalization, he ranked

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determined respondent should be allowed to rehabilitate herself. The Sub-

Panel concluded the appropriate sanction was an indefinite suspension 3

and that prior to readmission to the bar, respondent provide restitution to

all injured parties, be re-examined by the Committee on Character and

Fitness, and obtain certification that she is free or not controlled by

depression which has affected her judgment in the past. The full Panel

agreed with the Sub-Panel's report and recommendations. No exceptions

were filed concerning the findings or recommendations.





Respondent was involved in three check kiting schemes. Respondent

also wrote checks on her general trust account for personal expenses.

During this time, respondent used her trust and operating accounts as

her personal account. In the end, however, the banks did not lose any

money as a result of respondent's actions.





Respondent also committed misconduct in regards to several clients.

Respondent represented Thomas Brown and his daughter for injuries

received in an automobile accident. The claims were settled with State

Farm for $5,078.80. Respondent deposited them into her trust account

and converted the funds to other uses. Mr. Brown received a check from

respondent for only $811.00. The Panel concluded that respondent owes

Mr. Brown $4,267.00.





Respondent represented Fannie Mae Pearson in a home repair

dispute from which $1,835.00 was collected on behalf of Mrs. Pearson.

Mrs. Pearson did not receive the funds. The Panel concluded respondent owes

Mrs. Pearson $1,835.00.







Respondent represented Kevin and Connie Nelson in a personal

injury action. A settlement was reached for $4,500.00. Respondent paid

herself $325.00 and paid a medical bill on behalf of the Nelson for

$1,000.00. The remaining money was never sent to the Nelsons. The

Panel concluded that respondent owes the Nelsons $3,175.00.





Respondent also misappropriated client funds which should have

been used to pay medical bills on behalf of clients. The total amount of


respondent's depression as between 4 and 5.





3Respondent was placed on interim suspension on July 30, 1997.

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medical provider funds received and withheld from clients was $40,899.45.

Medical providers have received only $6,562.00. Thus, respondent has not

paid $34,337.95 to medical providers.4





Respondent has violated: Rule 1.15, Rule 407, SCACR, by

misappropriating client funds and failing to deliver funds to clients and

medical providers and failing to deliver a full accounting; Rule 8.4(b) by

committing acts that reflect adversely upon her honesty, trustworthiness, and

fitness as a lawyer; Rule 8.4(c) by engaging in conduct involving moral

turpitude; Rule 8.4(d) by engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud,

deceit, and misrepresentation; and Rule 8.4(e) by engaging in conduct

prejudicial to the administration of justice. Respondent also violated Rule

413, SCACR, Rule 7(a)(5) by engaging in conduct tending to pollute the

administration of justice; and Rule 7(a)(6) by violating the oath of her office.





"While this court may draw its own conclusions and make its own

findings, Burns v. Clayton, 237 S.C. 316, 117 S.E.2d 300 (1960), the

unanimous findings and conclusions of both the Panel and Executive

Committee are entitled to much respect and consideration." In re Pride, 276

S.C. 363, 366, 278 S.E.2d 774 (1981). In mitigation, we consider, as the Panel

did, that respondent has admitted all the allegations against her and has

expressed great remorse. Respondent has also presented a significant

amount of other evidence in mitigation. Respondent developed severe

depression during the time the above instances of misconduct occurred. In

the past, we have allowed evidence of depression to mitigate misconduct. See

In re Weinberg, 317 S.C. 300, 454 S.E.2d 316 (1995). In further mitigation,

during this time respondent became the sole caretaker and provided financial

support for her mother who had developed Alzheimer's disease. See In re

Holler, 329 S.C. 395, 496 S.E.2d 627 (1998)(fact the respondent was sole

caretaker for mother was considered in mitigation).





Accordingly, it is ordered that respondent be indefinitely suspended,

retroactive to July 30, 1997, from the practice of law in this State.

Respondent shall file an affidavit with the Clerk of Court within fifteen days

of the date of the filing of this opinion, in compliance with Paragraph 30 of

Rule 413, SCACR.


4 Total restitution is $43,615.75.

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In re Glover



INDEFINITE SUSPENSION.





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