In re Dorrance Dickens, Respondent, and In re Deborah Luxenberg, Respondent. (Bar Registration Nos. 450751, 215657)
April 25, 2017
Report and Recommendation of the Board on Professional
Responsibility (BDN-271-11, BDN-10-12, BDN-11-12, and
Richard J. Berwanger, Jr., with whom Edward J. Hutchins, Jr.,
was on the brief, for Respondent Luxenberg.
L. Porter, Senior Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, with whom
Wallace E. Shipp, Jr., Disciplinary Counsel at the time the
brief was filed, and Jennifer P. Lyman, Senior Assistant
Disciplinary Counsel, were on the brief, for the Office of
Glickman and Fisher, Associate Judges, and Reid, Senior
attorney disciplinary case involves the main partner in a
small law firm, respondent Deborah Luxenberg, and an
attorney, respondent Dorrance Dickens, who started at the
firm as a law clerk but became an associate and eventually a
partner. Disciplinary Counsel charged Ms. Luxenberg with
several violations of the District of Columbia Rules of
Professional Conduct after Mr. Dickens allegedly stole at
least $1, 434, 298.50 from three estates, including that of
Ms. Luxenberg's client, Michelle Seltzer. Following his
theft, Mr. Dickens fled to an island outside of the United
Board on Professional Responsibility ("the Board")
has recommended that Mr. Dickens be disbarred from the
practice of law due to his violation of multiple rules of
professional conduct, including Rule 1.15 (a) and (c),
commingling and misappropriation, and Rule 8.4 (c), conduct
involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or
misrepresentation. The Board also has recommended that Ms.
Luxenberg be suspended from the practice of law for six
months due to her violation of Rules 1.3 (a), 5.1 (a), and
5.1 (c)(2), relating to the responsibility of partners in law
firms to ensure competency and ethical behavior by attorneys
in the firm.
Luxenberg argues on appeal that the Board erred by (1)
considering evidence from disciplinary matters to which she
was not a party; (2) finding that she violated Rules 1.3 (a),
5.1 (a), and 5.1 (c); and (3) recommending a
"harsh" sanction that is inconsistent with this
court's case law and that is greater than the 45-day
sanction recommended by the Board's Hearing Committee.
Disciplinary Counsel argues that the Board erred by failing
to find that Ms. Luxenberg also violated Rules 1.3 (b)(1) and
(2) pertaining to (a) a lawyer's intentional failure to
seek the lawful objectives of a client and (b) prejudice or
damage to the client; Rule 1.7 (b)(4) concerning a
lawyer's representation of a client where the
lawyer's professional judgment may be affected by her own
interest; and Rule 8.4 (a) regarding a lawyer's
professional misconduct by knowingly assisting or inducing
another to violate or attempt to violate the Rules of
Professional Conduct. Disciplinary Counsel also asserts that
given the record in this case, the proper sanction for Ms.
Luxenberg is a one-year suspension, with a fitness
reasons stated below, we accept the recommendation of the
findings of fact contained in the voluminous Report and
Recommendation of the Board's Hearing Committee Number
12, and supporting record evidentiary documents, reveal the
following factual context. Ms.
commenced her practice of law as a member of the District of
Columbia Bar in 1975. Eventually she was joined in practice
by her husband, Stephen Johnson. While Mr. Dickens was
completing his legal studies, he became a law clerk at the
firm; he was hired in October 1995 because of his computer
skills. His status changed to that of an associate in the
firm in October 1996 when he became a member of the District
of Columbia Bar.
1998, the firm incorporated in Maryland as Luxenberg and
Johnson, and in 2003, when Mr. Dickens became a partner, the
firm changed its name to Luxenberg, Johnson and Dickens. The
firm had no partnership agreement but Ms. Luxenberg always
retained a 52% interest in the firm. Ms. Luxenberg's
practice has been devoted to family matters such as divorce
and custody. Although she has never been the managing partner
of the firm, she decided which clients the firm would
represent and who would handle the client matters. Mr.
Johnson also had a family law practice, and he took on cases
in other areas of the law.
Dickens handled some cases with Ms. Luxenberg and some with
Mr. Johnson, but also took on cases on his own, such as the
representation, beginning in 2000, of Vernon Harris in the
probate of Mr. Harris's sister's estate, and the
representation of the personal representative of the estate
of Dr. JoAnne S. O'Brien in April 2008 (the
"Garrity/O'Brien" matter). There was a
different arrangement in the case of Ms. Seltzer whose
separation and divorce Ms. Luxenberg had handled in 1994.
When Ms. Seltzer sought Ms. Luxenberg's representation in
2004 to update her estate plan, which included a revocable
trust created in 1990 (the "1990 trust"), Ms.
Luxenberg explained to Ms. Seltzer that she did not do that
type of legal work; however, during a meeting at the law
firm, Ms. Luxenberg introduced Ms. Seltzer to Mr. Dickens as
the person who could do the required work. Mr. Dickens made a
few amendments in 2004 to the 1990 trust, and he prepared a
general power of attorney as well as a healthcare power of
attorney for Ms. Seltzer. In response to Ms. Seltzer's
request, Ms. Luxenberg became a co-trustee of the trust; Ms.
Seltzer remained as the other co-trustee. In mid-November
2004, Ms. Seltzer executed the amended trust as grantor and
trustee, and Ms. Luxenberg signed the document as trustee.
early 2007, Ms. Luxenberg and Mr. Johnson decided to move the
main office of the firm from the District of Columbia to
Maryland, and to maintain satellite offices in the District
and Virginia. By this time Mr. Johnson's law practice was
limited and his time centered on administration of the firm.
Even though he was not a member of the Virginia Bar and Ms.
Luxenberg had knowledge of that fact, Mr. Dickens worked out
of the Virginia office that the firm leased in February 2007;
the lease was signed by Mr. Dickens but the firm paid the
rent for several months before delegating that responsibility
to Mr. Dickens.
management of the small firm was not rigorous after the 2007
move of the main office to Maryland and Mr. Dickens'
relocation to the Virginia office. Although the firm appears
to have some policies and procedures to ensure compliance
with ethical obligations, these were either loosely followed
or not enforced with respect to matters handled by Mr.
Dickens. Generally, the firm held biweekly staff meetings
during which open cases were reviewed; however, Mr.
Dickens' attendance at these meetings decreased
significantly, his participation by phone was sporadic, and
there were occasions on which he simply could not be reached.
Moreover, despite the firm's record-keeping policies, Mr.
Dickens failed to execute retainer agreements with clients
that he represented, maintain proper billing records, and
save electronic client documents to the firm's computer
server. Even when the firm discovered that Mr. Dickens had
clients for whom the main office had no records, or when the
firm received checks, sometimes for substantial amounts of
money, without documentation - as in the Garrity/O'Brien
matter - the firm made little or no effort to ensure that Mr.
Dickens followed its policies and procedures, as well as the
ethical rules of the legal profession.
was limited contact between Ms. Seltzer and the Luxenberg
firm in 2006 and 2007 regarding her trust. In late 2007, Ms.
Seltzer was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. She
underwent surgery, followed by chemotherapy treatment which
she received through 2009. During that period of time, in
addition to Ms. Luxenberg's role as co-trustee of Ms.
Seltzer's trust, Ms. Seltzer and Ms. Luxenberg became
in early 2009, Mr. Dickens advised Ms. Luxenberg that he
planned to leave the firm to spend time on other interests,
but that he could still handle some legal matters; he
traveled quite a bit, apparently in connection with a Middle
East telecommunications venture and also business at the
Vatican. Around April 2009, Ms. Seltzer contacted Ms.
Luxenberg because she desired some changes in her estate
plan, to ensure that she properly provided for her adult
children, Eric Seltzer and Jerri Seltzer Falk. She stated in
an email on May 11 that if Ms. Luxenberg was too busy to
handle her request and would like for Mr. Dickens to do so,
that would be "okay." On the same day, Ms.
Luxenberg responded that Mr. Dickens "would have to deal
with any trust questions." Thereafter, Ms. Luxenberg
sent Mr. Dickens an email detailing information about Ms.
Seltzer's children and the family trusts; she ended the
email by saying, in part, "I have told Michelle [Ms.
Seltzer] I will still be involved and will talk to her and if
necessary do conference calls with her and you." In
addition, Ms. Luxenberg informed Ms. Seltzer that the firm
would charge a discounted hourly rate of $375 "because
of our long relationship with you."
she had not heard from Mr. Dickens, Ms. Seltzer sent emails
to Ms. Luxenberg on July 6, and again on August 10, about the
lack of communication from Mr. Dickens. On August 12, 2009,
Ms. Luxenberg sent an email to Mr. Dickens, saying "I
need to know if you can do this realistically. Otherwise we
need to get someone else to do it." Mr. Dickens sent Ms.
Seltzer a responsive communication and Ms. Luxenberg arranged
for Ms. Seltzer and Mr. Dickens to speak by phone on a
certain date. After speaking with Ms. Seltzer on August 18,
2009, Mr. Dickens sent an email to Ms. Luxenberg outlining
the work to be performed on the trust and other documents,
and he included mention of "[a] new trust" for Ms.
Ms. Seltzer had not received any draft documents from Mr.
Dickens and had learned that her cancer had
"metastasized and spread, " she again reached out
to Ms. Luxenberg on September 14, 2009, saying in part:
"If this is an undertaking that [Mr. Dickens] is not
interested in doing, I understand and perhaps I should find
someone else. I do put my trust in both of you and that is
why I felt you and [Mr. Dickens] could help me." Mr.
Dickens claimed he had sent the documents by regular mail,
then said he spelled the name of Ms. Seltzer's street
incorrectly, and subsequently, he sent a package to Ms.
Seltzer by FedEx on September 16, which she received. Ms.
Luxenberg and Mr. Dickens apparently had a tense telephone
conversation during which Ms. Luxenberg requested copies of
the Seltzer documents for the firm's central files; Mr.
Dickens apparently took offense at the tone and content of
the conversation. By September 21, 2009, it became clear that
the only document Mr. Dickens had sent to Ms. Seltzer at that
point was the new trust, which he discussed directly with Ms.
Seltzer on September 21. Both Ms. Seltzer and Mr. Dickens
informed Ms. Luxenberg on September 22 and 23, that they were
making progress on the trust. Later, Ms. Seltzer's son
(undoubtedly at the request of his mother) sent Mr. Dickens a
list of Ms. Seltzer's assets, including account numbers.
thereafter, Mr. Dickens traveled to Rome. Upon his return, he
sent Ms. Seltzer an email on October 20, 2009, acknowledging
her calls and questions while he was away, the potential need
for some changes in the trust, and the need to schedule a
date for signing the trust. Between October 20 and October
26, Mr. Dickens and Ms. Seltzer exchanged emails regarding a
date for the signing of the new trust. Although Eric and
Jerri were included in the email exchange, Ms. Luxenberg was
not, except for an October "FYI" email to her from
Mr. Dickens on October 26, which included the chain of emails
beginning on October 20. On the day of the signing of the new
trust, November 2, 2009, Mr. Dickens met with Ms. Seltzer,
Eric, and Jerri in the Luxenberg firm's Maryland office.
Mr. Dickens did not provide a copy of the new trust, labeled
the "Michelle S. Seltzer Family Trust, " to Ms.
Seltzer's children before the meeting, and the schedule
of Ms. Seltzer's assets was neither attached to the
document she signed nor discussed during the meeting. Ms.
Luxenberg did not see Ms. Seltzer or her children until the
meeting had concluded; she claimed she did not know about the
meeting or the signing.
month after the execution of the new trust, Ms. Seltzer sent
Mr. Dickens an email inquiring about her will, and advising
that she wanted to complete everything before going to Johns
Hopkins for further treatment. She followed that email with
another on December 4 stating, "if you still have any
documents to complete could we take care of that now?"
Subsequently, on December 11, 2009, Ms. Seltzer signed her
new will, which essentially mirrored her old will, except
that Mr. Dickens was appointed as personal representative of
her will; the will named Stephen Johnson as Mr. Dickens'
successor. The will was witnessed by a non-lawyer employee of
the firm, Stephen Gleichman, and by Billy Tollar, Mr.
Dickens' friend who later became his spouse. Apparently
Ms. Luxenberg did not see the new will before it was
presented to Ms. Seltzer, but Ms. Luxenberg was copied on a
December 8, 2009, email that scheduled the will signing for
December 23, 2009, Mr. Dickens was supposed to meet Ms.
Seltzer at her bank, but did not appear. Ms. Luxenberg sent
an apologetic email to Ms. Seltzer the following day stating
that Mr. Dickens "went away for Christmas." But Mr.
Gleichman had earlier informed Ms. Seltzer that Mr. Dickens
was "unfortunately stuck in court for a vicious case,
" as the reason for his failure to keep the bank
appointment with Ms. Seltzer; Ms. Luxenberg reiterated that
reason in a later communication to Ms. Seltzer. In response
to Ms. Luxenberg's email, Ms. Seltzer discussed her
cancer treatments, and stated, "I'm sorry [Mr.
Dickens] didn't relay where and why we were meeting since
it wasn't extremely urgent. If he still wants to
introduce himself to the officers of my bank, we'll have
to do it after the first [of the year]."
January and early February 2010, Mr. Dickens filed an
application for an IRS EIN number for the new Michelle
Seltzer trust; the information he sent to the IRS identified
himself as "Grantor" and "Trustee" of the
trust. He also notified Ms. Luxenberg about a change in his
cellular service "[i]n preparation for my move to Italy,
" and he received confirmation from the State
Corporation Commission for the Commonwealth of Virginia that
articles of incorporation for the limited liability
corporation, JECRAL, LLC had been filed successfully. Earlier
on December 11, 2009, (according to Mr. Dickens' First
Account for the Seltzer Family Trust, filed on March 25,
2011), Ms. Seltzer had purchased an Assignment of a 1%
interest in JECRAL and FRW Telecom with a demand note payable
to Mr. Dickens in his individual capacity in the amount of
Seltzer's condition continued to deteriorate, and her
daughter notified Mr. Dickens on February 14, 2010, that Ms.
Seltzer had been placed in hospice care at Casey House in
Maryland. Ms. Luxenberg bought several plants and went to see
Ms. Seltzer on February 23. Until Ms. Luxenberg encountered
Mr. Dickens in the parking lot of Casey House, she was
unaware that Mr. Dickens planned to visit Ms. Seltzer on the
same day to obtain her signature on a legal document. When
Ms. Luxenberg arrived in Ms. Seltzer's room, Ms. Seltzer
asked her to witness papers that Mr. Dickens had brought for
Ms. Seltzer's signature. Ms. Luxenberg did not read the
document she was asked to witness but she understood that it
pertained to "marshall[ing] assets for the trust for
Michelle Seltzer . . . that were left in the PNC Bank."
Ms. Luxenberg did not recall Mr. Dickens reading or
explaining the document to Ms. Seltzer; nor did Ms. Luxenberg
question Mr. Dickens about the document which stated:
"To Any and All Officers of PNC Bank[, ] Please cash-in
or liquidate all of the Certificates of Deposit that I have
in your bank, including, but not limited to all those listed
on the attached two sheets and give the proceeds to Dorrance
D. Dickens, who is my attorney." Ms. Luxenberg did not
see "the two attached sheets" because they were not
affixed to the document that Ms. Seltzer signed. The other
person who witnessed the document was Carolyn Hohlfeld, then
a human resources employee with Montgomery County government
who had assisted Ms. Seltzer while she was still working and
receiving cancer treatments. She happened to be visiting with
Ms. Seltzer on February 23 and Mr. Dickens asked her to
witness a document. Like Ms. Luxenberg, Ms. Hohlfeld did not
read the document and did not recall seeing any attachments,
but Ms. Hohlfeld questioned Ms. Seltzer to be sure Ms.
Seltzer was aware of the nature of the document she was about
with the February 23 document, Mr. Dickens proceeded to the
PNC Bank on February 26, 2010, and transferred Ms.
Seltzer's PNC assets to another PNC account for which he
was the sole signatory, the "Michelle Seltzer Family
TRT, Dorrance D. Dickens Trustee" account. He deposited
$20, 000 of the funds into his personal account at another
bank, the United Bank, on February 26, 2010. A few days
later, on March 5, Ms. Seltzer succumbed to her illness. Mr.
Dickens removed a total of $60, 000 from Ms. Seltzer's
trust funds from two checks written on March 8 and 11; he
again deposited the funds in his personal account at United
Bank. He also wrote a check to the Luxenberg firm on the
Seltzer trust account on March 11, in the amount of $4, 478
indicating on the memo line of the check "Legal
Fees." The firm's bookkeeper posed an email question
to Mr. Dickens about the missing bill that would explain the
check; Mr. Dickens' return explanation was limited to,
"[A]s soon as I decompress I will log on and handle
it." Nevertheless, the firm cashed the check without any
record confirming that it was entitled to funds from Ms.
Seltzer's trust, a fact that Ms. Luxenberg acknowledged
during her testimony before the Board.
long after Ms. Seltzer's memorial service on March 11,
her children, Eric Seltzer and Jerri Seltzer Falk,
communicated with Mr. Dickens by phone and email to inquire
whether he was ready to meet with them about their
mother's estate, but he "kept putting [them]
off." Eventually, on March 23, 2010, he notified the
Seltzer children that he had been "traveling outside the
country" but had returned; however, he did not indicate
when he would meet with Mr. Seltzer and Ms. Falk. When Ms.
Falk's April 1 email to Mr. Dickens, inquiring as to when
they might meet "to discuss [the] will and other
details, " received no response, Stuart Plotnick, the
trustee of the trust created for Eric Seltzer by his father,
called and requested Ms. Seltzer's will and trust. A
paralegal at the Luxenberg firm reported the call by email to
both Mr. Dickens and Ms. Luxenberg on April 15,
2010. Mr. Seltzer informed Mr. Dickens on April
19 that he still had not received the requested documents.
Finally, on April 20, the firm's paralegal sent the trust
without the statement of assets, but not the will, to Mr.
Plotnick. Mr. Plotnick immediately asked about the schedule
of assets and Mr. Dickens responded via email, with a copy to
Ms. Luxenberg, that he did not yet have a schedule of assets
since "[m]ost of the assets will be coming from the
estate per the will." Mr. Dickens sent another email to
Mr. Plotnick on April 21, with a copy to Ms. Luxenberg
saying, in part, that he was "in the process of going
through the papers to locate the assets" and mentioning
the assets of "a revocable trust" as well as the
irrevocable family trust that he had created for Ms. Seltzer.
After Ms. Falk pressed the issue of Mr. Dickens'
non-response in an email dated April 23, Mr. Dickens sent her
a check and cash around April 26 to cover Ms. Seltzer's
funeral expenses and honorarium for the rabbi who officiated
at Ms. Seltzer's memorial service. It was in April and
again in July 2010 that Ms. Luxenberg went to the PNC Bank
with Mr. Dickens to transfer assets belonging to the 1990
trust to the 2009 trust. Ms. Luxenberg billed Ms. Seltzer's
account for the second trip to PNC Bank with Mr. Dickens on
July 13, 2010. As Trustee of Ms. Seltzer's amended 1990
trust and in accordance with Mr. Dickens' direction, she
transferred $27, 742.12 from the Michelle S. Seltzer Trust
funds at the bank to the Michelle Seltzer Family Trust,
although she thought the funds were being transferred to
"the irrevocable trust." On the same day she
transferred a smaller sum for a total of more than $33, 000.
early August 2010, Mr. Seltzer and Ms. Falk had not received
the information they had requested from Mr. Dickens about the
assets of the trust. Mr. Seltzer reported to his sister on
August 2 that he had spoken with Mr. Dickens who said
"he ha[d] run into complications with [Ms.
Seltzer's] assets because [she] has two trusts." Mr.
Seltzer added that Mr. Dickens "[s]ays he will know soon
how much is in the estate and then I imagine [he] will also
work on getting checks out to us that were promised at the
end of last month." On August 9 Mr. Seltzer again
pressed Mr. Dickens by asking for an accounting of the assets
in the Seltzer trust set up by Mr. Dickens, requesting
"copies of the first trust" as well as an
accounting, and inquiring "where the assets are being
kept (for example, where [his] half of [his mother's]
life insurance proceeds are." Mr. Dickens sent an
extensive response on August 10, outlining what purportedly
were the steps he still had to take, promising to send Mr.
Seltzer and Ms. Falk $5, 000 each that day, and indicating
that Ms. Luxenberg "is cooperating to get this done as
efficiently as possible." Ms. Falk sent a rapid response
to Mr. Dickens, with a copy to Ms. Luxenberg, asserting in
part that more important than a distribution was "a full
and accurate accounting of the assets that are supposed to be
in the trust." Shortly after receiving her copy of Ms.
Falk's email, Ms. Luxenberg asked Mr. Dickens for
"all of the documents in the Seltzer file, "
informed him that she had neither the trust documents nor the
will, and reminded him that he had promised to submit the
Seltzer file "a while ago when [he was] traveling the
globe." Although Mr. Dickens sent Ms. Luxenberg some
files, he did not transmit the schedule of assets or
information about any of the trust bank
December 6, 2010, deadline approached for the filing of Ms.
Seltzer's Maryland Estate Tax return, Ms. Gelfeld sent a
formal letter to Mr. Dickens and Mr. Johnson expressing (1)
concern that the estate might owe Maryland estate tax, and
(2) concern not only about the absence of an accounting of
estate and trust assets but also about the "[i]nability
of Trustee to administer the Trust on a reasonable and timely
basis." Ms. Luxenberg was aware of Ms. Gelfeld's
letter through Mr. Johnson. Mr. Dickens sent an immediate
defensive and partly dishonest response to Ms. Gelfeld
claiming that he saw "no reason not to file the return
by the deadline, " denying that the Luxenberg firm had
any "responsibility for anything under either the trust
or estate, " asserting that he had the responsibility
and that Mr. Seltzer and Ms. Falk had "received a copy
of the trust and Schedule A [listing Ms. Seltzer's
assets] . . . on the morning Ms. Seltzer signed the trust
agreement, " declaring that Ms. Seltzer personally
transferred her PNC bank assets to her new trust, insisting
that he was "administering the Estate and Trust in a
reasonable and timely manner, " and failing to mention
that he had already pilfered a large chunk of Ms.
Seltzer's assets. Mr. Dickens offered to meet with Ms.
Gelfeld on the morning of December 15. On December 8, an
associate in the office of Gary Altman, Mr. Seltzer's
attorney, sent a letter to Mr. Dickens indicating that Mr.
Altman could participate in the December 15 meeting by
new year dawned, Ms. Luxenberg became aware that Mr. Dickens
had billed over $25, 000 in personal expenses to a firm
credit card that she thought had been closed out by Mr.
Dickens after the firm had paid off $27, 000 on the card in
July 2007. Although Ms. Luxenberg had received calls from
creditors about the credit card bill, she had hung up on the
callers because she thought the card had been cancelled.
Nevertheless, she began to communicate with Ms. DeLuca on
January 5, 2011, asking her to get Mr. Dickens, who was
facing heart surgery, to take care of the matter. Ms.
Luxenberg explained during her hearing testimony that she was
communicating with Ms. DeLuca instead of Mr. Dickens because
"he wasn't returning her calls." However, Mr.
Dickens sent a letter to Ms. Gelfeld and Mr. Altman on
January 6, 2011, disclaiming that he had ever been asked to
do an estate plan for Ms. Seltzer and asserting that had he
done a plan for her he "would certainly [have] had a
greater knowledge of her assets and their whereabouts and
disposition than [he] actually did." He insisted that
neither he nor Mr. Johnson had ever wanted to be a trustee of
the trust or a personal representative of Ms. Seltzer's
estate, and that after closing out the estate and the tax
year, he would hand over the trusteeship. As the month of
January drew to a close, Ms. Luxenberg was trying to locate
Mr. Dickens through Ms. DeLuca on January 21 to wish him a
happy birthday, while Ms. Gelfeld and Mr. Altman were writing
to Mr. Dickens about serious problems they were discovering
with his handling of Ms. Seltzer's assets and Mr. Dickens
was trying to explain away their discoveries.
February 1, 2011, Mr. Dickens agreed to accept the
recommendation of Ms. Gelfeld and Mr. Altman that Peg Shaw,
an attorney licensed in the District of Columbia, prepare a
Seltzer trusts/estate accounting. As Ms. Shaw worked on the
estate accounting, she raised questions with Mr. Dickens
about missing items such as Ms. Seltzer's pension funds,
and Mr. Dickens sought to deflect the questions. Before Ms.
Shaw completed the draft estate accounting on February 21,
based on the information provided by Mr. Dickens, he had
taken more money from Ms. Seltzer's assets - $3, 184.40
on February 10, and $6, 000 and $12, 000 on February 14. As
Ms. Shaw began working with Mr. Dickens, but not Ms.
Luxenberg, on the trust accounting in early March, she sent
Mr. Dickens an email on March 2, 2011, informing him that a
page from the estate tax return - listing the assets relating
to "Mortgages, Notes, and Cash" - was missing. On
that same day Mr. Dickens took $25, 000 from Ms.
Seltzer's assets. The following day Ms. Shaw sent Mr.
Dickens an email attaching the draft trust accounting and
stating in part, "Please review the document called
Missing Assets. This shows what I can account for and what I
can't account for. We need to find the missing
stuff." Ms. Shaw sent a final draft accounting to
Mr. Dickens on March 14 with an extensive email identifying
problems, including "what happened to the approximately
$300, 000 in CD's owned by [Ms. Seltzer] until she
liquidated them . . . a few days before her
death."On March 18, 2011, Ms. Shaw sent Mr.
Dickens yet another email identifying missing items from the
estate and trust accountings. ...