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Georgia Attorney Arrested on Charges of Forgery and Theft by Deception
Wilson Randolph Smith, an attorney from Vidalia, Georgia, has been arrested on charges of forgery and theft by deception, according to The Savannah Morning News.

The arrest is in connection to a $500,000 civil settlement he reportedly never gave to clients.

Smith was arrested on Tuesday by Toombs County Sheriff’s Deputies and taken to the Toombs County Detention Center.

He was scheduled to appear in front of a Superior Court judge on Thursday, according to Sheriff Alvie Knight.

Smith received a letter from Savannah attorney William P. Franklin Jr. asking him to give the clients their money.

“For years I have complained about lawyer misconduct and how we as a profession have turned a deaf ear and blind eye towards grievous lawyer misconduct,” Franklin wrote. “It is time for me to not only talk the talk but, more importantly, walk the walk. I could understand and would have more forgiveness for an armed robber than a lawyer who betrays his fiduciary responsibility to clients who entrusted their case to him.”

Smith ‘forged’ signatures of his clients, Heather and Dewey Mallette to receive the money. The legal malpractice lawsuit also claims that Smith never told the couple their lawsuit was settled. The malpractice suit was filed in Chatham County State Court on December 23.

The malpractice lawsuit also claims that Smith never told the Mallettes that their insurance company issued a check and did not disburse the funds to them.

The lawsuit alleges that Smith told the couple multiple times that the case was still active and would go to trial early in 2015.

The suit filed against Smith also names his partner, Robert Jenkins, and their firm, Smith and Jenkins.

“Due to the pending litigation, both criminal and civil, I don’t think I can comment,” Jenkins said Wednesday.

The letter from Franklin continues with, “I want to give you the benefit of the doubt, but quite frankly it is impossible to do so.”

Franklin’s letter also noted that the couple did not have any money to buy Christmas presents for their children and that Mallette “was forced to cash in his 401(k) and in doing so incurred a forty percent (40 percent) penalty and will be taxed on the money he received.”

“Regrettably the allegations against you, corroborated by what the Mallettes told me and the paper trail, compel me to believe they are in fact true and demand a bar complaint and warrant draconian professional sanctions and perhaps even incarceration.”

Franklin told Smith he would alert the State Bar of Georgia if he did not do so himself. Franklin learned of the crime when Mallette accused him of working in conjunction with Smith on the fraud. Franklin told Mallette that the case was settled on August 13, 2013 and the couple signed the receipt for the $500,000. 


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