, Newburyport, MA

January 17, 2013

Port lawyer barred from practice

By Dave Rogers
Staff Writer

---- — NEWBURYPORT - A Pleasant Street attorney has been barred from practicing law by the Board of Bar Overseers of the Supreme Judicial Court amid allegations he may have embezzled more than $350,000 from multiple clients over the last few years.

Mark E. Cassidy, an attorney for more than 21 years, was notified Jan. 7 of the board’s decision, only weeks after the bar formally filed a petition for discipline with the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County in Boston.

According to the petition, Cassidy knowingly misappropriated $347,909 from a family who hired him to oversee the account of a late relative between May 2009 and Nov. 2010. In late Dec. 2010, Cassidy allegedly stole $23,500 in insurance money from a client who had hired him to represent her in a personal injury case stemming from an automobile accident. The most recently allegation took place last June when Cassidy was hired to represent a client in an alimony case and deposited a $5,000 check to act as a retainer. But instead of spending the funds on behalf of his client, Cassidy allegedly used the funds for his personal use.

In all three allegations, clients were unable to reach Cassidy who ignored emails, phone calls and other forms of contact.

Last August, the Board of Bar Overseers began investigating Cassidy’s conduct and informed him in writing of their investigation. When Cassidy repeatedly failed to acknowledge the board’s actions, the board ordered him to appear at its Boston-based office. Cassidy ignored the request prompting the board to file the petition for discipline on Dec. 28.

As part of his suspension, Cassidy must file a notice of withdrawal with every court, agency or tribunal where he has legal proceedings pending, resign all appointments as guardian, executor, administrator, trustee, attorney-in-fact and other fiduciary capacities. Furthermore, Cassidy must inform all clients of his suspension and is disqualified as acting as an attorney on their behalf and refund all fees collected from current clients. He is also expected to file an affidavit with the Office of Bar Counsel certifying he has fully complied with the provision of the suspension.

No one answered a telephone number listed as Law Offices of Mark Cassidy and a website for his practice appeared to have been disabled or deactivated.