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Boston Law Firm Says Funds Missing

January 8, 2001

BOSTON (AP) _ Clients of a prominent lawyer say millions of dollars belonging to them are missing, and the attorney says he is under psychiatric care.

Partners of attorney Morris M. Goldings have notified law enforcement officials and the state Board of Bar Overseers about the missing funds.

``I have a medical problem, and that is all you are going to get out of me,″ Goldings told The Boston Globe by telephone on Sunday.

Goldings, 64, said he had been hospitalized for psychiatric care, and referred all questions to his lawyer, Steven Brooks, who did not immediately return calls for comment Monday.

Two of Goldings’ partners, James B. Cox and Bruce Edmands, said Brooks wrote to their firm to say Goldings is retired. Goldings helped found the firm, Mahoney, Hawkes and Goldings, 40 years ago.

Cox and Edmands told the Globe ``a lot of money″ from a number of clients remained unaccounted for _ in the millions of dollars.

Although clients’ funds are typically held in accounts maintained by the law firm, Cox said Goldings had set up a separate bank account for his clients’ funds. The account is empty, he said.

Cox said he had told local prosecutors about the missing funds and also planned to meet with a representative of the U.S. attorney’s office.

He said the first sign of a problem came in mid-November when an outside lawyer reported a client had been unable to retrieve money held by Goldings.

Goldings told the firm in early December that the funds had been deposited abroad at the clients’ request, that the money would be returned by later in the month and that the problem involved only three clients.

On Dec. 18, the firm was told by a brother of Goldings that the attorney was in a psychiatric hospital.

The firm has told about 75 clients that Goldings ``has very recently become disabled.″ Since then, Cox said, fewer than 10 clients have expressed concern.

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