SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

June 20, 2013

Lawyer disbarred over missing funds

BY JULIE MANGANIS
STAFF WRITER

---- — HAMILTON — A lawyer who once had offices in Peabody and Newburyport has been disbarred, six months after state officials suspended him from practicing law over allegations that he stole nearly $375,000 in client funds.

Meanwhile, prosecutors in Worcester County have yet to file any charges against the attorney, Mark Cassidy, saying that they are still looking into the allegations.

Among Cassidy’s alleged victims are the family of a Hamilton teenager who was seriously injured crossing a street in Salem, the heirs of a Peabody man who died and left Cassidy in charge of his estate, and a man who hired Cassidy to handle his divorce.

The order of disbarment was issued earlier this month by the Supreme Judicial Court.

In addition to his handling of three cases, the Board of Bar Overseers said that Cassidy failed to cooperate with their investigation, another violation of the ethical rules governing lawyers.

The family of Glorie Frackleton filed suit after she was struck by a car while crossing Bridge Street in Salem in December 2010. Joe Frackleton, her father, said in January that Cassidy repeatedly claimed that the settlement funds they were owed were tied up due to a lien placed on them by the family’s health insurance company — something they later learned was untrue.

Lisa Frackleton, Glorie’s mother, yesterday expressed frustration at the pace of the investigation, though she said she is relieved to hear that Cassidy has been stripped of his license.

“I just don’t understand,” Frackleton said. “This man has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from people. I couldn’t get away with that, you couldn’t get away with that, and here he is walking around.”

The family is now seeking to recoup the money they’re owed through the Client Security Board, which administers a fund to reimburse victims of unethical attorneys.

A Peabody family discovered that the estate of Clarence Nadeau, worth more than $767,000 at the time of his death, had been a frequent source of funds for Cassidy, who, they later discovered, had written 41 checks totaling just under $348,000 to himself.

Another person hired Cassidy last year to handle his divorce and paid him $5,000, but discovered that Cassidy did no work on the case.

The criminal case is being handled by the Worcester district attorney after Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett concluded that he had a conflict of interest due to Cassidy’s stint as an assistant district attorney from 1992 to 1994.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.