Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Indicted attorney fights back

A Madison County grand jury indicted attorney Sharon Plunkett last month for allegedly embezzling from her law firm, Young Wells Williams, P.A. Earlier post.  However, the indictment is merely one front in a war between the Flora attorney and her former law firm.  Mrs. Plunkett sued for an accounting and discovery in Hinds County Chancery Court in September after the firm allegedly refused to allow her to review the financial records of her practice. 

Mrs. Plunkett joined Young Wells in February 2015 as an employee and continued her real estate law practice.  The complaint states an agreement with Young Wells allowed Mrs. Plunkett to operate her Real Estate Escrow account separately from the Young Wells operating account.  She describes her practice as a "business within a firm."  She alleged that Young Wells allowed another attorney to have similar arrangements.  She said her practice grew from 500-600 closings per year when she joined Young Williams in 2015 to 800 closings per year and that she paid Young Wells the agreed-upon fees.  Mrs. Plunkett became a partner at the firm in February 2016.

However, she claims that partners at Young Wells became worried that she might leave the firm, and began finding fault with her work shortly after she became a partner.  Young Wells took the position that all revenue deposited  into Plunkett's Real Estate Operating Account belonged to YWW, without exception, and none belonged to her, regardless of mutually agreed-upon closing fees and annual targets that had been paid to YWW, which averaged  roughly  $500,000  per year, even after normal  and customary  business expenses.


43. The complaints quickly escalated and became accusations  that  Plunkett  was stealing from the firm. Plunkett resigned from YWW on March 10, 2017.

44.    Plunkett's counsel was told that YWW would file a Bar complaint against Plunkett if she did not "self-report" to the Mississippi Bar Association. Through counsel, Plunkett informed the Mississippi Bar of the dispute.
45. Apparently not satisfied with the lack of a mea culpa in Plunkett's letter, on or about April 6, 2017, Plunkett discovered that YWW had filed a complaint against her, recklessly accusing her of misappropriating approximately half a million dollars from the firm.

The complaint describes the alleged embezzlement as a "shareholder dispute."  Mrs. Plunkett accuses Young Wells of using the criminal justice system to get $500,000 from her:

8. Specifically, YWW is improperly and  aggressively  attempting  to obtain  half a million dollars against a Travelers fidelity bond, which Travelers has promised to then seek in indemnification against Plunkett, but YWW and Travelers will not produce the necessary accounting and documents.
9. In its attempt to obtain  payment of $500,000.00  from Travelers  under a fidelity bond, YWW's shareholders had surreptitious meetings with Madison County and/or Ridgeland "authorities" with whom YWW and YWW's law firm Butler Snow have cozy relationships. YWW also filed a complaint with the Mississippi Bar* against Plunkett over YWW's alleged entitlement to proceeds from Plunkett's Real Estate Operating Account. YWW's shareholders have defamed Plunkett, and continue to do so.
However, it is said in the complaint that Young Wells has provided no documents such as financial statements or cancelled checks to Mrs. Plunkett to support its $500,000 claim in the "dispute." 

The indictment charged Mrs. Plunkett with fraudulently obtaining a debit card for a firm operating account and withdrawing funds from the account for nearly two years. Young Wells made the same allegation in a statement of claim filed with Travelers Insurance.  Mrs. Plunkett attempted to rebut these accusations:

13. For example,  YWW's Sworn Statement of Claim to Travelers and bar complaint  each allege that YWW had no knowledge of any debit card being issued on Plunkett's Real Estate Operating Account.
14. That statement is downright false, and can be proven false with  email correspondences involving Plunkett, YWW Office Administrator Tony Carlisle ("Carlisle"), and YWW Managing Partner James H. Neeld IV ("Neeld"), and other documents in the possession of YWW and, presumably, Travelers.
Mrs. Plunkett asks for an accounting for all of the records and accounts while she worked at the firm as well as discovery for Travelers.  Attorney Dorsey Carson represents her.    The case is assigned to Judge Denise Owens.

The grand jury returned four separate indictments for embezzlement and mail fraud against Mrs. Plunkett.  She is accused of fraudulently obtaining an ATM card to withdraw funds from an operating account.  She allegedly wrote checks on the operating account to make credit card and loan payments.  One indictment accuses her of funneling money to herself through a title company she owned.  

*Note to Bar: Don't take action against her until the criminal case is adjudicated since that is what you are doing for Robert Shuler Smith.  All for one and one for all.

Kingfish note: The plot thickens. 


56 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bam!

Contract dispute.

When a jury hears this is a contract dispute they will loathe Guest for this lynching.

I’d ask for the very next trial date.

Then after Winning the criminal charges....amend suit to each and every member of that firm and I wouldn’t stop until I had every Cadillac.

Anonymous said...

Note to KF: the bar does that already. No matter the case. You would know if you were a member.

Anonymous said...

The charges filed didn't withstand the " smell" test to anyone who knows anything about law firm business management and finances. Any partner's meeting should have caught discrepancies so they were either an incompetent group of partners or something else was afoot.

This isn't a " start up" firm and we are in the computer age. Good financial management isn't as time consuming or complicated as it used to be.

That Ms Plunkett is a real estate lawyer and that they made her partner in 2016 gives more credence to what I suspect happened...attempting to create a business within a business when they are a professional group.

When it comes to the kind of legal work she was doing, they needed her more than she needed them. And, it's clear she was doing it well because of the accolades she received and because poor real estate work quickly becomes obvious.

Now one can add to Young , Wells looking foolish if their charges were true , how they look if they aren't. There is even more damage to the firm's reputation if they manipulated the legal system for vengeance and greed if the charges are even slightly exaggerated. Add poor judgement to looking foolish if the charges are true for not seeing the damage that could be done to the firm's reputation should Ms. Plunkett fight back.

I think Young. Wells" smart move would have been to let Ms Plunkett go on her way. There were no good firm outcomes here when a firm's reputation is on the line. And, while women might have cried and collapsed in humiliation the old days, today's woman knows how to fight back and underestimating how tenacious a smart woman can be is a mistake.







Anonymous said...

She's going to crush the hell out of Young Wells. They messed with the wrong attorney. I can't wait for some aggressive competing firm to plaster the highways with billboards that say "We don't charge for goats. Never have, never will"

Anonymous said...

7:11 AM

Spot on.

Anonymous said...

Attn 6:58 AM What's your problem??????????

Anonymous said...

Many people opining on matters about which they do not know. Including, but not limited to, the operation of a law firm, the operations of a closing practice, and the operation of a goat farm. I think she has been pushing the envelope for years, which is one easy way to have such a successful law practice. Some realtors may be sweating the details of this debacle lest they be dragged into the fight. Hope this all gets resolved in a manner favorable to all the parties. No good comes out of harm to any of these people, including Sharon and the firm.

Justice for Tyrion said...

I agree with @6:06. This is merely a contract dispute and DA Guest again shows his poor judgement as a prosecutor. This doesn't pass the smell test just like the wobbly case against RSS.

Anonymous said...

No one really knows at this point.

Anonymous said...

@7:11, I was with you until your last sentence. The fact that she is a vagino-American is irrelevant.

Kingfish said...

6:58: Wow, you told me, didn't you?

Let us look at the Vann Leonard case. Found guilty in federal court of embezzling from client. Bar did nothing. Several months later he was suspended after, repeat, after, Judge Grant threw his ass in jail for contempt when he embezzled from another estate. Several state court prosecutions occurred later but you know all that, right?

Anonymous said...

Kingfish, I think 6:58 has gone mute on us !!!

Anonymous said...

This is @6:58. I haven't gone mute and I stand by what I said about how the bar is supposed to operate. BTW, are you a member KF?

Anonymous said...

Go to the Young Wells website and read their comment. http://www.youngwells.com/

Why on earth would this law firm publish a comment on their website about this??

Anonymous said...

WOW. 8:58, sounds like Young Wells could use some legal advice on this matter. They should hire some competent attorneys.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 7:51. You can spend a year in prison and still have a successful real estate practice if you keep the right people happy.

Anonymous said...

8:52 What's the point you're trying to make? He has an accomplished blog site supported by thousands of folks. I think I've heard it before, but I really don't care if he's Esq or not.

I DO know that Carlos, Kenneth and presumably... YOU are. You 'sound' just like em. Get over yourself DA.

Anonymous said...

If she was that successful, why did she join the firm? Not trying to make a point. Just honestly want to know.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:50 Shared overhead is likely the reason. There are probably some other factors, like health insurance through the firm, etc. Just speculating.

Anonymous said...

Way too much speculation going on here. Yall need to chillax and lets just be patient and wait to see where the facts lead us. Its my opinion that DA Guest wouldn't seek an indictment if there wasn't something criminal going on with Ms. Plunket. I think she got caught red-handed and now is trying to blame the firm.

Anonymous said...

10:24
Talk out of both sides of your mouth, do you?
Let me summarize your asinine remarks:
"Let's not speculate but if the DA says she guilty, she must be guilty."
You're an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Hired Dorsey. That pretty much sums it up.

Anonymous said...

Good move by Dorsey. I've been waiting on the trial lawyers to destroy the Republican Party by infiltrating it.

Anonymous said...

1108 ??? How in the hell are Dorsey, this case, and Republican Party connected by anything related to this whole mess

Arrogance On Display.. said...

Surely there is a separate blog out there somewhere for all these all-knowing smart-mouthed lawyers who visit here frequently. They could compare blue blazers and shoes and watch bands and important shit. Do they never tire of telling the rest of us how stupid we are as opposed to how damned smart they are?

How many times have we seen, "If you were a learned counselor like I am (you dumb shit) you would have know this, but since you aren't, let me remind you just how damned stupid you are!"

Anonymous said...

To 10:52, the comment by 10:24 is NOT assinine. Michael Guest will not even present matters to the Grand Jury that he doesn't feel he and his ADAs cannot win. That's just the way his office is now operating. Many people who are in the know about this DA are becoming quite bothered by the fact that he and his office are focused more on statistics these days than actually bringing people to be held accountable (without regards to whether they think the case is a slam dunk). Unfortunately, there are probably too many DAs in this State who are taking the same approach.

Nevertheless, the truth will come out here. Too many public filings for it not to be. Sharon is a pleasure to work on matters with. I hope she fares well in this matter.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that she's buying goats and paying for cars and houses directly out of a business account. A smart prosecutor would probably start taking a look at her personal tax records for the prior year to see if she had claimed those as "business expenses". If she didn't claim those non business expenses as income, that creates a real tax issue.

Anonymous said...

Agree with 6:58 to the extent that the Bar prefers never, ever to make any decisions itself when it can let someone else make them and then go, oh well, our hand is forced, we must act.

Hence I also agree with KF's reply.

Anonymous said...

What is the problem with buying goats? I own several through my business. They have proven way cheaper than lawn equipment.

Anonymous said...

what is it with real estate closing escrow attorneys? that robert harrison one in ridgeland a couple of years ago. That mcintyre fella. Now this lady?

Anonymous said...

I don’t agree with 6;58, and 12:21 is a freaking idiot because he/she doesn’t agree with 10:58 in his/her statement about 9:21 who was comlaining about 4:57 when he/she called out 3:32 for bashing 12:27 over his/her treatment of 9:45. Can I get an amen for all this children?

Anonymous said...

9:50 am I'm taking you at your word. When you graduate from law school, you start as an associate in a law firm. You are not a partner and don't get to share in profits.
When there is a talented associate whose billable hours or ability to attract clients exceeds that of the partners, they have a tendency to either leave and start their own firm, find a firm who will compensate them more fairly, or negotiate a favorable change in position and income inside the existing firm.

Anonymous said...

7:51 am And you are apparently one

The goats are irrelevant if bought with the money she earned in the title company. She gets to spend her earnings however she likes.

This firm was not closing. And, since you are so knowledge, how many hours does an associate in MS have to bill to earn his keep? Or in this case, how is the billing figured for a real estate transaction?

Pushing the envelope is not a crime and I doubt anyone is sweating.

But, we agree this was a colossally stupid move by Young Wells.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like they are accusing her of stealing her own money. If she grew the firm to 800 closing a year she was working extremely hard.

Anonymous said...

The lady has these old boys by the balls. And she's got a damned good grip? I ain't no lawyer but a woman had me by the balls once and I know that predicament when I see it.

Anonymous said...

"Pushing the envelope is not a crime..."

I guess that depends on who is on the receiving end of said envelope.

Anonymous said...

Why is this filed in Hinds County ano not Madison?

Anonymous said...

12:18 - It's not at all 'interesting' that she's buying goats. In fact it's irrelevant. It's a private, breakout account in her name. What business is it of yours or mine if she buys goats with it? Or propeller beanies, for that matter, as gifts for people like you?

Anonymous said...

5:99 am The goats were a deliberate ploy stuck into the lawsuit to make Plunkett seem different and odd to a potential jury pool. They are trying to negate the positive personal impression she would make.

If she'd bought a breed of dogs, it'd never be mentioned in that there are many dog owners who would identify with her.

They know there are folks who believe anything that is formally printed anywhere especially those over 50 years of age. That is the age group who once could more reasonably rely on news, books, and articles as standards were higher and laws were stronger. Now you can tell an egregious lie about any public figure and the definition of a public figure is essentially anyone who has had their name or picture out in the public for anything.

The goal is to get something shocking about your adversary written or broadcasted and then hope for repetition.

These charges could be dismissed but Young, Wells will take comfort that the damage to Ms Plunkett is done as the dismissal won't get as much news coverage. And, frankly, that she is woman working in a man's world makes her an especially easy target in Mississippi.

Knowing how to manipulate humans by appealing to their inspirations and fears and belief systems and ignorance of a subject is how political strategists and sales people and con artists dupe us.

Villains and heroes have historically too often been created out of nothing.

Marie Antoinette never said, " Let them eat cake" and Paul Revere didn't warn anyone that "the British were coming" though he tried.




Anonymous said...

7:43
Very well stated.

I was curious about the goats myself.

But it had the reverse impact on me....who would be so stupid as to steal money from lawyers and buy goats and advertise their existence on social media?

She’s very smart and successful.

Her goal needs to be to open up and demonstrate the fee arrangement and move to dismiss the indictment.

Let’s see how cooperative YW is in producing documents and internal emails.

This has all the makings for a Grisham novel.

Anonymous said...

Grisham novels have some nefarious element which this doesn't. This is a fee dispute between an honest, hard working attorney and a greedy law firm. Don't worry, it will all come out in due time. I've done dozens of closings with Plunkett, some at the offices of Young Wells, and every one has gone smoothly and within budget. Never once did I catch a whiff of impropriety. In fact, numerous times she went above and beyond the call of duty to solve a difficult problem. I will continue to use her services. As for YW, they would of been getting some of my money if she was still there but they got greedy. She wasn't going to let them take advantage of her and change her compensation arrangement. Sharon Plunkett fan? You bet I am.

Anonymous said...

Attn 7:43 Paul Revere was a "British" citizen,as were virtually all Bostonians not born in the American territory. If he said "the British are coming", he would have been talking about himself.

Anonymous said...

Y’all gotta know, even if you don’t know Sharon personally, that the average person isn’t stoopid (yes, spelled like that on purpose) enough
to use their employers’ money to purchase cute little milk goats. And, if said person is stoopid enough to do this, and it takes said person
leaving the employer to finally see it...I would think that said employer needs to take stock, clean house, and look hard at what the accounting department is doing. And, if they missed the purchase of the cute little milk goats, said employer should just suck it up, cut bait and run...instead of trying to make a spectacle. Said employer should also be locked and loaded when they face off with this lady. Because, i have no doubt that she will be, complete with full color glossy 8x10s with circles, and arrows, and a paragraph on the back

Anonymous said...

9:26

lawyers quit using "said" 25 years ago

please stop

Anonymous said...


Cain't we all just goat along ?

Anonymous said...

i hate this for sharon, getting in a pissing contest with a bunch of skunks!!! i used to think i'd like to move to madison county but i'm glad i got to see what kind of place it has become, so glad all the jackson trash has relocated to madison county now!!! i got nothing for corrupt madison county after the swat-team attack on mark mayfield and the unbelievably corrupt ridgeland/costco scam and it does not surprise to see that there is a rumor of barbour-world/butler-snow influence in this...

Anonymous said...

"The goats had the reverse impact on me".... What the fuck?

Anonymous said...

Dear 1:05pm...never said i was a lawyer. Just a smart aleck. Move along.

Anonymous said...

That law firm has a lengthy history of contentious break-ups. Lot's of financial "disagreements".

Anonymous said...

9:22 am No, in British law, Revere was a " colonist ". British citizens got " representation" or didn't you know that? Ever heard " no taxation without representation"? It actually applied to more than taxes. It applied to other "regulations" the colonist were required to follow. There's something that was called " The War of the Regulators" but is now seen by historians as the actual first shots fired in our Revolution. We didn't actually revolt over just tea and taxes.

And, Paul Revere was a French immigrant to the colonies and never a British citizen. My colonial ancestors who revolted were German.

Some who lived in the colonies did retain British citizenship, of course, but not so many of those who revolted.

It might enlighten you to read history in more detail. Then you could find out what was actually said by Dawes and Prescott and to whom they were issuing warnings. " The Redcoats are coming" also worked.

But, neither my ancestors nor Paul Revere ever identified themselves as British.

Anonymous said...

6:32

Nobody buys goats with stolen money.....nobody.

Anonymous said...

"i (sic) hate this for sharon, getting in a pissing contest with a bunch of skunks!!!"

You have something wrong. When one gets into a pissing contest with skunks, the skunks always win out. In this scenario, the lady will win.

"Always pay to be careful where one stand. Never stand directly behind goat after meal of beans and cabbage."

Anonymous said...

The worm turns. Vote goat. GoGo para presidente. Plunkett para prisionera.

Anonymous said...

Any new developments on this?

Anonymous said...

What the hell does Paul Revere have to do with the price of goats?

Anonymous said...

Yes, sadly, two tri-counties had a bad week. Tri-County lost on the football field last week, and the Tri County Answer took all of the air out of Plunkett's Complaint.

GoGo always says: "If you can't trust a title company, then who can you trust?". Vote goat.

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