CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) — Three of Christopher Reynolds’ former clients spoke to 8 On Your Side about allegations against the personal injury attorney who was arrested Monday on 15 charges of grand theft and money laundering.
“I was in an accident and sought legal representation just to cover myself and make sure I wasn’t going to be taken advantage of,” said Dustin Gilbert, who is now represented by Clearwater-based law firm Carey Leisure & Neal.
“My medical providers reached out to me and they asked me if I was able to reach out to him,” said Ashtyn Smith who recalled hiring Reynolds. “For me, he knew my dad from high school and stuff. He was kind of a family friend.”
Reynolds was arrested Monday by Pinellas County deputies. His bond amount is currently set at a total of $2,475,000.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said investigators believe Reynolds forged his client’s signatures on documents that obtained settlements from insurance companies that should have been distributed to pay medical bills and provide other compensation related to car accidents.
“He was taking the money into his Florida bar required IOTA account, and then just taking it out, transferring it into a personal account within the same bank,” Sheriff Gualtieri said.
In December, the Florida Bar Association asked the Florida Supreme Court to suspend Reynolds, which happened days later. In court filings, the BAR alleged Reynolds’ trust accounts had totals less than $1,000.
“Now they find themselves sitting there being told ‘your case was settled without your knowledge and you may be on the hook for the medical bills,'” said Matthew Carney, a personal injury attorney now representing some of Reynolds’ former clients.
“How? how can you do this to someone?” asked Dustin Gilbert. “Someone who’s already been through so much, already been a victim. Just to traumatize them further. It’s inhumane.”