On Friday, March 31, 2023, the Disciplinary Counsel filed a formal complaint against attorney Jason George before the Ohio Supreme Court Board of Professional Conduct alleging multiple counts of misconduct relating to improper handling of client funds.

The case is entitled “Disciplinary Counsel v. Jason George, Esq,” with case no. 2023-006.

The charges cited Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct 1.15(a)(d), 4.1(a), 8.4(c), 8.4(h), 1.15(a), and 8.1(a) which states:

A lawyer shall promptly deliver to the client or third person any funds or other property that the client or third person is entitled to receive.

A lawyer shall not knowingly make a false statement of a material fact or law to a third person.

It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.

It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in any other conduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s fitness to practice law

A lawyer should hold the property of clients or third persons that is in a lawyer’s possession in connection with a representation separate from the lawyer’s own property.

A lawyer shall not knowingly make a false statement of material fact.

It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.

The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

According to the complaint, George is accused of engaging in a pattern of deception and theft over several years while working at the law firm Frost Brown Todd LLC, where he served as vice president of their project finance advisors division. The complaint alleges that beginning in 2015, George misappropriated $100,000 in fees owed to the firm under his employment contract related to work on a financing deal.

This allegedly set off a series of questionable transactions involving George and two individuals, Michael Davis and William Stephens. Davis was a managing director at Stern Brothers, an investment banking firm, while Stephens incorporated Terra Master Inc., which claimed to offer non-traditional financing for industrial projects.

The complaint states that between 2015-2017, George worked to secure deposits totaling millions of dollars from multiple companies that were told Terra Master would provide financing. However, the financing was never obtained. George is accused of improperly releasing most of the deposited funds to accounts controlled by Stephens or his companies, rather than holding them in escrow as required.

Specifically, the Board alleges that in 2016 George secured a $1 million deposit from Drilling Structures International and another $2 million from Montecz and Bochica Oil by claiming the funds would be “bundled” for larger financing. Instead of maintaining the deposits as outlined in escrow agreements, George allegedly transferred over $900,000 to Stephens’ company Terra Master USA LLC within days of receiving the funds. Some of this money was then sent to George’s personal account.

When the financing failed to occur and Montecz/Bochica requested refunds by the end of 2016 as stipulated, George did not have sufficient funds remaining to fully repay them. It is alleged he misappropriated deposits from other clients, including the remaining $850,000 from Drilling Structures International, to partially refund Montecz by early 2017. Additional payments were made to Montecz into mid-2017 using funds from George’s accounts.

The complaint states George continued securing deposits for Terra Master through early 2017 but never obtained any financing for the companies involved. If proven true, the Board alleges George’s actions constitute fraud, theft, dishonesty, and conduct adversely reflecting on his fitness to practice law in violation of Ohio’s professional rules.

The complaint states:

“Relator requests that respondent be found in violation of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct and be sanctioned accordingly.”

According to the court filing, Mr. George acquired his law license in Ohio in 1998.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.