Attorney Christopher Reynolds of Chris Reynolds Law in Seminole, Florida was arrested on Monday, February 27, for 15 charges of grand theft and money laundering. Upon his arrest, the Florida Supreme Court issued an emergency suspension of the Chris Reynolds attorney office, pending an investigation.
These swift actions were taken when allegations were made about Reynolds’s involvement in forged settlement documents. To make matters worse, Reynolds allegedly settled several client cases without the clients’ knowledge or consent, deposited the insurance company checks from the settlements directly into his law firm IOTA account, and then transferred them to a personal account.
This tragic incident has left many of Reynolds’ victims in Seminole and Pinellas Country frustrated and shaken.
Keep reading to learn how Carey Leisure Carney is helping the victims of Pinellas County Attorney Chris Reynolds.
Who Is Attorney Chris Reynolds?
Chris Reynolds was a celebrated personal injury lawyer who served much of Pinellas County, including many clients in Clearwater, Florida. In 2015, Reynolds opened his personal injury practice in Seminole, Florida, and primarily represented plaintiffs injured in car accidents. He had a good reputation in the community and worked at several well-regarded firms in the Tampa Bay area before opening his private practice.
This reputation brought Reynolds a fair amount of business, and his firm thrived. Originally, there were no warning signs of what was to come. Former clients said that Attorney Reynolds was responsive and supportive at the beginning of their claims. Unfortunately, their trust in Reynolds quickly turned to disbelief in mid-2022.
Clearwater Victims Deceived For Months
Sadly, none of his former clients realized anything was amiss for some time. They received frequent enough communications that they were not alerted to what was happening behind the scenes.
In fact, one former Reynolds client, Jean Papa, stated that she only realized what was happening after she did not receive updates from the attorney for several months. When she could not get a hold of him, she reached out to her insurance company, which told her that her claim had already been settled and paid out to attorney Chris Reynolds. Outraged and perplexed, Ms. Papa immediately began looking for answers, which led her to Carey Leisure Carney.
Another former client, Dustin Gilbert, expressed his frustration at a press conference on February 28. Clients come to personal injury attorneys at some of the lowest points in their lives, and they place a huge amount of trust in an attorney when they retain the attorney’s services. Because of this important relationship, an attorney must always place the interests of the client first.
Gilbert makes a valid point. The rules of professional responsibility state that an attorney must have clear and unequivocal authority from their client in order to settle a case. Not only did Reynolds not obtain this authority from his clients, but he also forged their settlement documents and transferred the settlement funds to a personal account once they had been deposited into his IOTA trust account.
Chris Reynolds Attorney Scandal Claims $850,000 in Stolen Settlements
According to the Pinellas Country Sheriff, Bob Gualtieri, Reynolds’ alleged theft totals a whopping $850,000 combined from 16 victims.
Attorney Reynolds violated the trust and diligence that the legal profession promises to clients. Which brings to issue another critical rule of professional responsibility: the maintenance of accurate finances in a trust account.
When Reynolds was arrested on Monday, his firm trust account contained less than $1,000. Pinellas County Sheriff Robert Gualtieri stated in a press release that at least 16 clients had had their cases settled without their authority, one of which had settled for $100,000. Clearly, the numbers do not add up.
Carey Leisure Carney Takes the Case
Feeling betrayed, Reynolds’ former clients began to seek assistance with their claims, and several reached out to Carey Leisure Carney. The Clearwater-based lawyers at Carey Leisure Carney were honored to be trusted with this delicate situation and knew that they needed to assist victims as soon as possible. The team worked tirelessly to find a resolution for Reynolds’ former clients.
While there was pushback for reopening settled claims, Florida law does allow victims of this type of fraud an avenue to recovery under specific circumstances. Through diligence and perseverance, the attorneys at Carey Leisure Carney have given several of the Chris Reynolds attorney victims the justice they deserve.
Are You a Victim of Attorney Chris Reynolds?
This unfortunate situation has shown an ugly side of humanity, but it has also shown that there is hope.
If you were victimized by Chris Reynolds, you are not necessarily out of luck. Depending on the circumstances of your claim and how the case was concluded, you may still be able to recover for your accident. But don’t wait! The sooner you act, the faster we can get on your case! Call the Law Offices of Carey Leisure Carney at (727) 291-9618 to see how our attorneys can assist you.