Man tries to recover $ 150,000 after Las Vegas lawyer charged with theft


James Wilson says he trusted his Las Vegas attorney, Scott Michael Cantor, to properly handle the details of his late mother’s estate in estate court.

Wilson, 51, is a retired corrections sergeant from North Las Vegas who now lives in Washington. Her mother, Charley Janet Wilson, died in Las Vegas in 2010, and her house in Centennial Hills was sold a year later. The proceeds were placed in a trust account at Cantor’s law firm as the family’s complex probate case dragged on for a decade.

“I thought the money was as safe as Fort Knox in a trust account,” Wilson said. “Just by the name, it’s called trust. “

But when the probate case was finally resolved in 2020, Wilson reached out to his lawyer to get his share of his inheritance valued at around $ 150,000. What followed from Cantor, Wilson said, was excuse after excuse.

“There were a lot of times I called him up and said, ‘Hurry up and do this,'” Wilson said. But the money never came.

Las Vegas Police and Clark County prosecutors now say the reason Wilson was never paid is that Cantor, 69, stole the money. The lawyer was arrested in October and is on trial for attempted theft.

Cantor’s attorneys did not respond to requests for comment on this story, but documents obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal show Cantor has already been sanctioned by the Nevada Supreme Court for breaking professional conduct rules in legal cases going back decades. Those same records also show that he was struck off the bar by the state of California in March, and that the state bar of Nevada is now seeking to revoke Cantor’s law license as well.

“The way I see it, Scott robbed my mom’s house… It was money I could have sent my kids to college with,” Wilson said. “This is what my mother wanted to see.”

At least four previous complaints

Cantor was admitted to practice law in Nevada and California in 1978. In 1990 he received a private reprimand from the Nevada Bar for Cantor “temporarily misplaced two casino chips given to him by a client in 1983. “, according to bar records.

In 2014, the Nevada Bar initiated disciplinary proceedings against Cantor following complaints in three other cases.

The first arose out of a 2005 case in which Cantor failed to obey a court order requiring the prompt disbursement of settlement funds on behalf of a client who had received a pre-settlement advance loan in a civil matter.

In the second case, a woman said she hired Cantor as a divorce lawyer and paid him over $ 1,000, but ultimately had to take her own legal steps after she said Cantor had failed. did what he said he was going to do. The Nevada Bar said Cantor failed to file the woman’s parental certificates and waited a year to file a joint petition. He also failed to brief his client on important legal developments, the Nevada Bar said.

In another complaint, Cantor was hired to handle a probate case for a woman who died in 2008. The Nevada Bar said he acted as the administrator of the estate without court approval. estates and ended up receiving illegal fees in the case. He also failed to provide legal services by filing accounting records.

Discipline in Nevada, California

Documents filed with the Nevada Supreme Court indicate that Cantor entered a conditional plea with the state bar regarding the three complaints, admitting that he had violated rules of professional conduct.

Following the plea, in September 2015, the Nevada Supreme Court approved a six-month suspension of Cantor’s law degree and a one-year probation period at the Nevada Bar. He was also appointed a mentor by the bar to help him get back on track.

However, soon after, the mentor – a lawyer from Las Vegas – reported to the bar “that he was concerned with Cantor’s management of the trust funds,” according to the bar documents, and that “Cantor admitted a shortfall ”of $ 37,000 in a trust account.

As a result, in November 2016, the Nevada Supreme Court approved a recommendation from the Nevada Bar extending Cantor’s law license suspension to three years. An audit of his trust account was ordered as well as a reimbursement of any deficits.

Cantor was also required to operate an accounting and records management system and provide quarterly reports on its progress.

Nevada Discipline then prompted the California State Bar to initiate its own disciplinary proceedings against Cantor. Cantor was struck off the California bar in March for repeatedly failing to meet the demands placed on him.

The Nevada Bar, in its November petition, said Cantor also never informed them that he had been struck off the California bar, even though he was required to do so, and that the loss of his license in California was not discovered until the Nevada Law Society investigated. another case ”concerning Cantor. The documents do not provide details of the Nevada Bar’s investigations.

Waiting for a check

Wilson said in 2020 he was growing increasingly frustrated with Cantor’s chronic apologies for why he had not transferred the inheritance from Wilson’s mother to him. A series of exchanges in the fall of 2020 left him convinced that something was seriously wrong.

“I said to Scott, ‘I want to see the money in my account,’” Wilson said. “He said, ‘I’ll have the money in your account. I’m gonna go do a wire transfer to Nevada State Bank.

Later that day Wilson said Cantor told him he couldn’t complete the wire transfer because the bank closed at 2 p.m.

“I was like, ‘A bank closes at 2:00 p.m.? ”Wilson said.

In the following days, Cantor told him that the money had actually been sent to him by wire transfer.

“He sent me a photo of that letter,” Wilson said. “That says bank transfer. There was the amount in there, but it didn’t hit my bank. Then I started looking at this letter and the print type was off. The lines were crooked.

Wilson said he sent the photo of the letter to several friends who are retired cops, and they all told him “that sounds weird,” Wilson recalls.

Wilson then filed a complaint with the Las Vegas Police Department last January. Detectives wrote in an arrest report for Cantor that they learned the lawyer also told Wilson he needed to verify his trust account.

“After Mr. Cantor’s audit he said (Wilson) there was only $ 200 in his trust account,” police said. “Sir. Cantor said (Wilson) he would earn the funds, but never paid.

Wilson said Cantor offered him mining contracts as a refund, but he still never received any money. Wilson hopes he will one day be reimbursed for the loss through legal proceedings or possibly the Nevada Bar.

“I don’t wish this on anyone,” Wilson said.

Contact Glenn Puit by email at [email protected] To follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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