Court revokes Anamosa attorney's license

Aaron J. Thomas withheld funds from a client's settlement

Trish Mehaffey
Published: March 14 2014 | 3:14 pm - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 9:37 am in

An Anamosa attorney’s license was revoked by the Iowa Supreme Court Friday for withholding a client’s personal injury settlement and using the funds for his personal expenses.

Aaron J. Thomas, an attorney since 2002, violated the rules of professional conduct when he retained a portion of client, Emily Street’s $23,000 car accident settlement, according to the ruling. He withheld Street’s portion of the settlement for nine months. He also didn’t pay her unpaid medical expenses, and didn’t reimburse her health insurance provider or her auto insurance company, which had advanced funds on her account as a result of the accident.

According to the agreement between Thomas and Street, he was to receive 30 percent of the settlement, $5,400, according to the ruling.

Thomas claimed he had an agreement with Street to withhold the settlement money to pursue a separate action against Street’s insurance carrier, according to the ruling. Street said she wanted to sue the insurance company but never agreed to let Thomas hold that money.

According to the ruling, Thomas also wrote checks to himself for $9,500 from the settlement money, paying an employee and his wife. He also withdrew money from the client trust account to pay for office expenses and his home mortgage.

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