Injunction continues against local attorney Sue Mako
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A preliminary injunction continues against a Wilmington attorney after questions arose about accounts used to handle client funds.

Back in October we reported that the North Carolina State Bar had temporarily suspended Mako. It has been brought to our attention that Mako was not suspended. Instead, the bar requested and a judge granted an order that Mako not be allowed to handle client funds until the matter was resolved.

Click here to read the preliminary injunction

According to the injunction, the Bar's preliminary examination of Mako's records indicated that Mako had "failed to comply with North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct... regarding handling entrusted funds and trust account management."

On October 4, a judge entered a temporary restraining order (TRO) enjoining Mako from handling entrusted funds. The TRO was extended by subsequent orders of the court October 15 and again October 19. According to the Wake County Clerk of Court and the NC State Bar, the preliminary injunction, signed by Mako October 26 and entered October 29, remains in effect against Mako.

According to the injunction, the court found "Mako should be enjoined from accepting any further funds from or on behalf of clients or other individuals in a fiduciary capacity, from writing checks against or withdrawing funds from any account in which client or fiduciary funds have been deposited, and from directing any employee or agent to write a check against or withdraw funds from any account in which client or fiduciary funds have been deposited, unless and until expressly permitted by subsequent order of the Court."

Also according to the injunction, the court ordered "Mako is enjoined from accepting any further funds from clients or third parties in a fiduciary capacity, from withdrawing any funds from and/or writing any checks against any account in which client or fiduciary funds have been deposited, and from directing any employee or agent to withdraw funds from and/or write a check against any account in which client or fiduciary funds have been deposited until permitted by subsequent order of the Court."

The court also ordered "Mako is hereby enjoined from serving in any fiduciary capacity, including attorney-in-fact, escrow agent trustee, executor, or personal representative, until further order of this Court."

The injunction does allow Mako or her staff to transfer money from an account in question to another attorney so he may handle it for her clients.

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Did you ever provide any update on the story? I can't seem to find one. What was the outcome of the hearing? Often WWAY you rush to report a story, but fail to follow up....

The NC Bar is very strict in its guidelines regarding Attorney Trust Accounts. Those trust accounts are set up to receive and disburse funds on behalf of the client. For instance, if you have an attorney represent you on a speeding ticket, the attorney can collect his fee and also accept client money in order to pay the court cost and fines. The fee goes into a regular account. The money allotted for court cost and fine is to be paid to the court on the client's behalf. Everything should balance out to zero. If you have a negative balance for any client in your trust account then that most likely means that you have put that money where it doesn't belong and that is mishandling the client's funds.

Reading the order I still don't understand what was the circumstances around this "certified check scam" they refer to. Was she trying to partake in what she thought was a get rich scheme by accepting certified check for a fee, but she used clients accounts instead?

the certified check which she deposited was a forgery. She wrote checks against her trust account prior to the certified funds appearing.

Of greater concern to her are the other 3 accounts referenced which were overdrawn with no explanation.

Who knows if she can come up with that level of funds.

Lawyers can be duped too.
I just wonder what she was doing writing checks for that large an amount of money without first verifying the funds were available.
I can't imagine her writing checks substantial checks against he other accounts but who knows - this is kinda like the "Never lands" for me. First because its an attorney, second because my hands would be shaking writing a check in 6 figures. (And you can bet your behind I'd make sure that money was available first)

Vog