SAN ANTONIO (CN) – A car accident victim claims in court that a lawyer sent a runner to his home to solicit him as a client, then transferred settlement money to a non-IOLTA trust account controlled by the attorney’s son, who is a disbarred lawyer.
David Torres sued The Law Offices of William D. Bonilla PC and David Bonilla, of Corpus Christi, in Bexar County District Court.
“Plaintiff was involved in an automobile accident on or about September 12, 2011,” Torres say in the complaint. “The very next morning, a case runner who identified himself as John Bonine with the Texas Motor Vehicle Accident Co. appeared at plaintiff’s doorstep and attempted to and did solicit plaintiff for legal services related to the accident.
“On information and belief John Bonine has illegally solicited cases for defendant William D. Bonilla in the past and continues to actively illegally solicit cases for defendants William D. Bonilla and The Law Offices of William D. Bonilla, P.C.”
Bonine is not named as a defendant.
Torres claims in his complaint that the Bonillas “are involved in an intricate criminal conspiracy, the object of which is to commit the crime of barratry”.
Torres says that after he hired William Bonilla, “all conversations and communications with plaintiff were carried out by defendant David Bonilla. On information and belief, defendants William D. Bonilla and The Law Offices of William D. Bonilla, P.C. transferred settlement funds belonging to plaintiff to a non-IOLTA trust account which was owned and operated by defendant David Bonilla. Proceeds from plaintiff’s settlement proceeds were paid to plaintiff and to medical providers out of an account that was in defendant David Bonilla’s name. Since David Bonilla is, according to the State Bar of Texas, disbarred, he cannot have or control an IOLTA trust account.”
David Bonilla is William Bonilla’s son, according to NBC News’ Corpus Christi affiliate, KRIS-TV.
Torres’s complaint continues: “On information and belief, the transfer of the funds to David Bonilla may have been part of an elaborate scam the object of which was to defraud the Texas Attorney General’s Office out of monies that should have been paid on an outstanding child support lien. Transfer of client funds to a non-IOLTA trust account violated William D. Bonilla fiduciary duty to his client (plaintiff) and submitting fraudulent representations to the Texas Attorney General’s Office caused plaintiff damages.” (Parentheses in complaint.)
KRISTV.com reportedthat David Bonilla was charged in October 2009 with theft and misappropriation of property charges. He was disbarred in that year, KRISTV.com reported.
David Bonilla pleaded guilty to six counts of misuse of fiduciary property and one count of theft after taking more than $500,000 from 37 clients, KRISTV.com reported in May 2011.
Torres seeks disgorgement of his legal fees and damages for violation of Texas Government Code, breach of fiduciary duty and conspiracy.
He is represented by Scott Tschirhart with Cabin & Shaw in San Antonio.