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VSB revokes lawyer after settlement money goes missing

A lawyer accused of converting a disabled student’s settlement money to the lawyer’s own use has been disbarred in an expedited Virginia State Bar proceeding and could face criminal charges.

The VSB Disciplinary Board revoked the license of Darryl A. Parker of Richmond Aug. 28 at a hearing scheduled under bar rules that provide for swift action to abate “an imminent danger to the public.”

The bar presented evidence that Parker, while under a VSB license suspension, represented a disabled Richmond school student who was injured on school property. The school district reportedly paid $60,000 to Parker to settle the student’s personal injury claim.

Parker then spent nearly all of the settlement proceeds on “personal and other expenses” and never delivered any of the money to the student or his family, the bar alleged.

“Despite repeated requests and the bar complaint, [Parker] has failed to advise the parties of the status of the funds, of his suspension, and he has made no attempt to rectify matters,” assistant bar counsel Renu M. Brennan said in the bar’s petition.

The student’s mother was among the witnesses at the Disciplinary Board hearing, according to VSB staff.

Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael N. Herring said his office was aware of the allegations against Parker.

“I can only confirm that the matter has been referred to us, and we’re looking at it,” Herring said Sept. 1.

The VSB is required under court rules to furnish evidence of criminal conduct to appropriate authorities, said Edward L. Davis, Bar Counsel.

“The VSB will assist as needed and to the extent that we can,” Davis said.

Parker did not appear at the Aug. 28 hearing. After hearing evidence from the bar, the Disciplinary Board revoked Parker’s license effective that day.

The board said it found clear and convincing proof that Parker committed a criminal or deliberately wrongful act and engaged in dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, among other rule violations.

Previously, Parker failed to show for a July 16 court hearing in the student’s case, which remains open on the Richmond Circuit Court docket. The Richmond School Board is represented by Glen Allen lawyer Alan B. Gnapp, according to the court clerk’s office. Gnapp did not return repeated calls for comment.

Parker has been in the sights of regulators since 2002. He has been disciplined by the bar five times and failed to follow terms imposed with a 2014 admonition, according to the VSB. He also was banished from U.S. bankruptcy courts for four months last year for lack of diligence.

Davis said the expedited proceedings were driven by Parker’s ongoing interaction with the client’s family while he was suspended. Other factors were the value of the missing money and the vulnerability of the victims, Davis said.

Efforts to contact Parker for comment have been unsuccessful.

Updated Sept. 2 to add comment from Davis.

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