11.26.2013 Consent Order of Discipline – Suspension [Beaufort County]
Edwin M. Hardy was disciplined for various recordkeeping issues pertaining to his client trust account. Specifically, Hardy failed to:
- conduct monthly and quarterly reconciliations of his attorney trust account;
- maintain ledgers for each client for whom funds were received in the trust account;
- accurately record the date of deposit on client ledgers; and
- provide written accountings to clients with funds in the trust account for more than twelve months.
Additional missteps included Hardy’s failure to deposit mixed funds into the trust account on one occasion, as well as Hardy’s failure to keep sufficient maintenance funds in the account.
In its “Findings of Fact Regarding Discipline,” the Commission noted that Hardy’s trust account had been the subject of random audits in 1991, 2009, and 2012. “Despite having been notified of deficiencies in his management of his trust account after the 1991 and 2009 audits, several of the same deficiencies were found during the 2012 audit.”
The Commission concluded that Hardy violated various provisions of Rule 1.15-2 and Rule 1.15-3 of the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct. Ultimately, the Commission suspended Hardy for a term of two years. The suspension was stayed for a period of three years, however, contingent on Hardy’s compliance with various conditions of the order. Pursuant to these conditions, Hardy is required to perform monthly three-way reconciliations with the State Bar and must also retain a CPA for quarterly audits.
View the full disciplinary order below.
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