An attorney in St. Johns County was arrested Friday for allegedly withholding more than $54,000 from a car-accident victim he was representing, according to court documents.
Christopher William Adamec, 44, was charged with a first-degree felony charge of fraud by swindling and a second-degree felony charge of larceny, according to online jail records.
Adamec allegedly delivered three fraudulent invoices from independent vendors for a total of $4,325 to “support expenses supposedly paid to said vendors, which attorney withheld from victim’s $10,000 insurance settlement from an automobile accident injury claim” from Progressive Insurance Company, according to the defendant’s arrest affidavit.
The arrest affidavit goes on to say after attorney's fees, the victim was left with just $1,744.81 of the $10,000 settlement.
First Coast News spoke with Linda Masters, who the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office confirmed is the victim in this case.
“I didn’t even know what to think, I was floored! I said to her, I said ‘1,700 dollars? Are you kidding me?’ Like where is the rest of the money?” she said.
Masters said she hired Adamec after a suggestion from a friend following a June 2015 car crash. Masters said she had a herniated disc that required surgery.
Masters said Adamec was hard to reach while handling her second claim, with Allstate. During that time, she reached out to the three vendors from the Progressive settlement and learned the vendors never provided services to the attorney’s office on her behalf, the arrest affidavit said.
According to the affidavit, Adamec's former office manager admitted the invoices were fake and no payments were ever mailed to the three vendors.
Adamec has also allegedly not given Masters any of the $50,000 settlement from Allstate, the affidavit said.
Masters said she filed a report with the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office in January and received a call from a detective Friday to notify her of the Adamec's arrest.
“I have to tell you I was one happy camper when I heard that Mr. Adamec was officially arrested today," she said.
First Coast News tried to track down Adamec to get his side of the story. The crew was not allowed past the gate leading to the address listed on the arrest documents and a woman who answered the phone said he didn't live there. Adamec's St. Augustine office was empty and for rent.
A Florida Bar spokesperson told First Coast News that Adamec’s license has received an emergency suspension, going into effect on July 28. The spokesperson could not confirm if the suspension was for the alleged crimes he is accused of.
Adamec has two prior complaints on file, but both of those cases were closed with no probable cause, the spokesperson said.
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