Personal injury attorneys are some of the most important lawyers in the game; not only do they battle against the villains of negligence, but they also help to improve the quality of life for injured people. In fact, more than 18% of people who suffer from a personal injury will experience depression as a result within the next year.
Of course, this doesn’t refer to simple accidents, like scratches or sprains. Even though over 25,000 people experience an ankle sprain every day, personal injury attorneys are the only form of support for those who have been victimized by medical malpractice, workplace accidents, and automobile accidents. It’s estimated that automobile accidents make up more than 52% of personal injury lawsuits.
But for the car accident victims who relied on Kentucky lawyer, Andrew Clooney, support was the last thing they experienced. According to recent reports, the former personal injury lawyer was arraigned a 34-felony indictment earlier this month for swindling clients out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
With help from his wife Christel Clooney and employee, Marlene Estrada, Clooney settled trials without informing his clients before pocketing the money from the settlement. Through forged client signatures and notarizations from Estrada, Clooney was able to pocket over $500,000 from more than 20 clients between July 2015 and August 2018.
“We have been screaming to the authorities and the bar and we really needed for the criminal justice wheels to start turning so we can get justice,” claims attorney Alex White.
Clooney and his company were arraigned on June 3 after pleading not guilty. So long as the trio keeps coming to court, the group can remain released on their own recognizance until their next court date on July 29. On top of being removed from the Kentucky Bar Association, Clooney now faces up to 20 years in prison for his crimes.
Reports claim that Clooney would specifically target individuals with poor English skills in order to take advantage of them, particularly Hispanic clients. If any of these individuals questioned the actions of Clooney, he would simply chalk it up to a misunderstanding.
Personal injury attorneys are meant to serve as educators of the people and fighters for justice. The fact that this individual took advantage of a vulnerable population during some of their most trying times is simply unacceptable.