DAVIE (CBSMiami) – Jason Jones hired attorney Bradley Douglas in 2017 after a car rear-ended Jones’ work truck on I-95 in Miami.
“The guy went through the back of my truck, my company truck that I was in,” Jones said.
Jones suffered a pinched nerve and needed surgery.
“For the rest of my life, I have a titanium plate (in my neck),” Jones said.
Douglas won a big settlement for Jones from his company’s workers’ compensation insurance. The amount was $175,000. Jones thought it was life-changing money.
“I needed to find work but I figured with that money, I could provide myself with a lot of opportunities,” he told CBS4 News.
But it wasn’t life-changing money. Jones said he couldn’t get the money from Douglas.
“The check’s in the mail. I’m waiting on the secretary. It was every excuse in the book,” Jones said.
Jones showed CBS4 the text messages he said he received from Douglas promising that the checks would be deposited right away but it never happened.
Jones complained to the Florida Bar and the Davie Police Department. Investigators went through Douglas’ trust account and a police report indicates they found “multiple large cash withdrawals” for “food, Massage Envy, West Marine, Marlins Stadium.” They were items consistent with “personal use.”
Jones said at the same time he struggled to pay his bills, suffered financial problems and relied on family to get by.
“Here I am starving to death and here he is living high on the hog, getting massages and going to baseball games,” Jones said.
Jones wasn’t the only victim. Davie Police said Douglas failed to provide settlement funds to 11 other clients.
Florida Bar records show Douglas voluntarily had his law license revoked in 2018 and admitted to misconduct and not giving settlement funds to a number of clients. Florida Bar records show that he can reapply for admission to the Bar several years from now.
“Sometimes people in practice make mistakes and I think whatever mistakes Brad made it was appropriate for him to own up to those mistakes,” said Michael Gottlieb, Douglas’ attorney. “It’s an error in judgment that will be rectified.”
Davie Police arrested Douglas on more than dozen criminal charges and they’re wondering if there are more victims in the community.
“It’s possible there are other victims out there and we’d like to speak to them, if they’re out there,” said Davie Police Lt. Mark Leone.
Jason Jones did wind up getting a portion of his initial settlement but he’s still demanding justice.
“I would hope that (Douglas) goes to prison and learns a lesson that he can’t steal from people,” Jones said.