Edgartown attorney Edward W. (Peter) Vincent Jr. is expected to be temporarily suspended from practicing law, after he agreed to a petition filed by the Office of the Bar Counsel in Supreme Judicial Court arguing that “[Mr. Vincent’s] continued practice of law would pose a threat of substantial harm to clients or prospective clients.”
According to Constance Vecchione, chief bar counsel to the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers, “You get a temporary suspension when there are facts showing a lawyer poses a threat of substantial harm.”
The fact that Mr. Vincent was not contesting the order “means he understands, based on what I think is admitted, that he’s going to lose his license for at least some period of time,” Ms. Vecchione said, adding:
“There is no dispute about basic facts of what has occurred here.”
The petition for an order for temporary suspension has been assigned to Justice Francis X. Spina.
Ms. Vecchione expected the order to be issued shortly, “within a week or so.”
The action follows allegations that Mr. Vincent misused funds as the attorney in two unrelated real estate deals. “During about 2009 through February 2011, [Mr. Vincent] used for his own personal or business purposes substantial client or fiduciary funds from a conveyancing account,” the bar counsel petition notes.
Two separate civil cases were filed earlier this year, one by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) and the other by First American Title Insurance Company, and alleged that Mr. Vincent had absconded with money. The superior court froze Mr. Vincent’s bank accounts and attached liens totaling $700,000 to his South Water street residence and other assets.
Both cases were dismissed in April when Mr. Vincent made restitution to the parties involved. At the time, Edgartown resident and philanthropist Michael Kidder made a secured loan to Mr. Vincent so that he could repay those who were owed money.
Mr. Vincent’s family home on South Water street in Edgartown was listed for sale last week with an asking price of $2.5 million.
Criminal charges are still pending.
The Office of the Bar Counsel and the Board of Bar Overseers, independent administrative bodies which consider complaints against lawyers, have been investigating Mr. Vincent since the MSPCA case was filed in March.
In its petition to the Supreme Judicial Court, filed on Friday, June 27, the Office of the Bar Counsel said that “[Mr. Vincent] has agreed to a temporary suspension in order to expedite the commencement of a disciplinary sanction likely to result from the above misconduct.”
Ms. Vecchione said the suspension was not a final disposition. The next step would be the filing of charges with the Board of Bar Overseers and a recommendation from the board.
In the words of the bar counsel’s petition, the temporary suspension would stay in effect “pending the institution and conclusion of disciplinary procedures before the [board].”