On Wednesday, March 6, 2024, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution released a report detailing the sentencing of Matthew Dickason, a disbarred attorney from Atlanta. Dickason was found guilty of using clients’ funds to support his struggling law firm and was subsequently sentenced to over two years in prison. In addition to the prison term, he was ordered to pay restitution of $3 million.

The 48-year-old lawyer had pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud in October and expressed remorse during his sentencing hearing. He stated his determination to earn enough money to fully repay the restitution. U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May handed down a sentence of two years and three months in prison, along with three years of post-release supervision. The judge also mandated that Dickason make restitution payments to five victims, including individuals, an insurance company, and a bank. The total amount ordered was slightly over $3 million.

Dickason’s law firm, Dickason Law Group, had undertaken numerous transactions worth tens of millions of dollars. According to his attorney, Matt Pearce, Dickason took over the family firm in 2007 after his father’s passing and discovered it was burdened with debt. In an attempt to alleviate the financial strain, he utilized funds from real estate transactions to cover the firm’s expenses and compensate other clients. However, these efforts to stabilize the firm and repay the money were ultimately unsuccessful.

Federal prosecutor Russell Phillips argued for a sentence of approximately three years, emphasizing the importance of dispelling the perception that the legal profession protects its own. During the sentencing, one victim described the impact of Dickason’s actions, revealing that she had lost her inheritance from her parents’ home and incurred significant legal fees in her pursuit of justice.

Following his disbarment in early 2020 and the subsequent closure of his law firm, Dickason surrendered his law license. He admitted to the Georgia Supreme Court that he had failed to properly account for client funds and had violated the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct.

Judge May characterized Dickason’s crime as displaying arrogance and selfishness, noting his partial acceptance of responsibility and intention to make restitution. However, she emphasized that he had not fully comprehended the consequences of his actions.

Dickason has the option to voluntarily surrender to federal prison authorities within 90 days in order to commence his prison term.

 

 

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution