Friday, Sept. 7, 2012 | 4:50 p.m.
CARSON CITY — The Nevada Supreme Court has temporarily suspended the license of Las Vegas attorney Barry Levinson, accused by the state bar’s disciplinary board of misappropriating funds.
The court said bar documents “demonstrate that Levinson poses a substantial threat of serious harm to the public.”
Levinson maintains somebody else embezzled the money and he is trying to pay back those who lost funds.
The case will now be heard by the Southern Nevada Disciplinary Board of the State Bar of Nevada to determine what if any action should be taken.
The Supreme Court said Levinson may not accept any new clients and must stop representing existing clients within 15 days. All money collected from his law practice must be put in a trust fund, and Levinson must get permission from the state bar or a court to withdraw any funds.
The Supreme Court said a petition from the disciplinary board and supporting documents allege that Levinson misappropriated funds, commingled funds, failed to report multiple trust accounts to the state bar, failed to pay settlements to clients and showed dishonesty.
According to court documents filed by the disciplinary committee, one man received a $120,000 settlement in a wrongful death case, but said he has never seen the money.
In another case, a woman received a $185,000 settlement in a medical malpractice case. The money was deposited in one of 22 bank accounts of Levinson, according to the documents.
She said she received only $85,000, and investigators allege that money was taken from an account of another settlement.
Another woman won a $125,000 settlement in a car accident case but claims she received only $6,703, according to the documents.
The disciplinary board accused Levinson of lying, failing to cooperate and obstructing the investigation.
William Terry, the lawyer representing Levinson, said it would be premature to order a temporary suspension because few of the allegations deal with clients who have not received funds.
Terry said Levinson should be allowed to continue to practice law. “He is attempting to make efforts to make sure that everyone who may be owed money is repaid,” he said.