A Media attorney has been suspended from practicing law for two years under a joint petition in support of discipline on consent filed with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Office of Disciplinary Counsel.
Jeff Lee Lewin will be eligible to reapply for his law license at the end of the suspension, according to an order entered by the ODC Monday.
Lewin has been admitted by the state Bar to practice law since 1976 and maintains an office on the first block of West Second Street, according to the order.
The ODC outlines various violations of the professional code in the order, including one instance where Lewin provided the Better Business Bureau with personal information of a former client during a dispute with a third party.
The ODC says Lewin also failed to undertake several actions while working as an executor of an estate, including disbursing proceeds from U.S. Savings Bonds.
Lewin did not respond to several requests from clients for updates on tax statuses and other relevant information in finalizing the estate, failed to file proper tax returns and failed to make full distributions of funds to beneficiaries, according to the order. The ODC says final distributions have still not been made and the estate has still not been finalized.
In another instance, Lewin was hired to handle inheritance tax issues and the sale of a property, according to the order. After the property was sold for $101,000, he distributed approximately $29,514 to the client and another check in the amount of $17,500 was made out to a trust account in Lewin’s name.
The ODC says Lewin did not forward the remaining funds to the client, did not timely file an inheritance tax return on her behalf, did not return her phone calls and allowed the $17,500 to sit in an escrow account for more than two years before he was contacted by disciplinary counsel.
In at least two other cases, the ODC found Lewin had funds earmarked for distribution to clients sitting in his trust fund for years. He also failed to maintain a check register to identify the purpose of each check and transaction, failed to keep an individual ledger for each trust client and wrote checks against deposited amounts before certifying they had been credited to the account, according to the order.
The ODC found there were some mitigating factors in determining a suspension period. Lewin has no prior disciplinary action in more than 40 years of practice, according to the order, and had demonstrated remorse and accepted responsibility for his actions.