3.30.16 Suspension [New Hanover County]
Thomas S. Hicks was suspended for five years with the possibility of stay after eighteen months of the suspension. Hicks, a Wilmington lawyer, was found in violation of the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct. Hicks failed to get signed written informed consent from clients he represented in a business transaction violating Rule 1.8(a). Hicks also violated Rule 1.15 for failing to maintain entrusted client funds, claiming entitlement to interest earned on fiduciary funds, using entrusted funds for personal benefit, failing to promptly disburse entrusted funds, and failing to provide clients with an accounting of funds held in trust. Furthermore, Hicks misrepresented to his clients that he was researching issues with funds when he had already used them for personal benefit (violating Rule 8.4(c)) and failed to take steps to reasonably protect the interests of his former clients (violating Rule 1.16(d)).
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