NEW ORLEANS (Louisiana Record) – Suspended Madisonville attorney Scott Robert Hymel faces possible permanent disbarment following a recent recommendation by a Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) hearing committee after he allegedly stole from his grandmother's estate.
"Instead of filing the necessary pleadings to open and close the succession, he misrepresented to the legatees (presumably members of his own family) as to the status of the succession," LADB Hearing Committee No. 62 said in its seven-page recommendation issued Oct. 15. "This misrepresentation is evidence of a breach of his fiduciary duties as executor and, moreover, his obligation as attorney of the estate."
Allegations against Hymel stem from two matters, including the handling of his grandmother's estate, from which "he effectively stole $225,000" that "he converted to his own use and to the prejudice of the legatees and heirs under the will," the recommendation said.
Hymel allegedly stole the money after he failed in April 2012 to file appropriate paper work in the estate, according to the recommendation.
Hymel "acknowledged he mismanaged the funds from his grandmother's estate ... (and) absconding with the money to Ohio" and that "he was unable to make restitution in a satisfactory fashion," the recommendation said.
"He is currently awaiting trial on felony theft charges in St. Tammany Parish," the recommendation said.
In the other matter, Hymel was alleged to have abandoned another client after accepting $5,000 for representation in July 2012 – money Hymel did not return. Allegations in that matter included Hymel's failure to inform the client "that he relocated to Ohio in his attempt to conceal the $225,000 theft," the recommendation said.
Hymel was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Oct. 15, 1999, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website.
Hymel's disciplinary history in Louisiana goes back more than four years and includes other allegations and recommendations from the LADB and hearing committees.
In September 2015, the State Supreme Court adopted the LADB's earlier findings and suspended Hymel for 18 months. By that time, Hymel was ineligible to practice law in Louisiana for noncompliance with continuing legal education and trust account registration requirements and nonpayment of bar and disciplinary dues.