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Embezzling Clients' Money Is Most Frequent Reason N.C. Lawyers Disbarred

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CHARLOTTE — The surest way for a lawyer to lose his license to practice in North Carolina is to steal money from trusting clients.

The body responsible for overseeing the state's legal industry points out that very few of North Carolina's more than 15,000 lawyers are charged with stealing funds.

Twenty lawyers were disbarred last year in the state. The North Carolina State Bar says 16 of those attorneys misappropriated client money or other money for which they were responsible.

Lawyers have access to sums that sometimes can be as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars in trust accounts. The accounts represent client money from settlements, real estate sales and business deals.

In North Carolina, 202 lawyers have been disbarred since 1978.

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