The Indiana State Supreme Court disbarred an Indianapolis attorney accused of stealing thousands of dollars from his clients.
In a unanimous decision Tuesday, the court spelled out in very clear terms how David Steele stole from his clients. The court called his actions a pattern of systemic and wide-ranging misconduct.
In total, Steele admitted stealing approximately $150,000.
Steele would take retainers, then intentionally inflate billing hours when clients asked for part of that money back or complained about his work. When his office manager reported the misconduct to state authorities, Steele threatened him with violence, and even had a gun in his hand when he fired him.
On top of all that, Steele admitted recording conversations with his clients and then playing them back for family and friends for amusement.
The State Disciplinary Commission reviewed 1,400 complaints against lawyers from July 2014 through July 2015. During that time, the Supreme Court only disbarred three lawyers statewide.