Rock Hill lawyer suspended from law practice after accusation he kept $166K

A York County lawyer accused of keeping more than $166,000 in client’s money has been suspended from practicing law by the highest court in South Carolina.

Thomas A. Givens, 66, was suspended Thursday by the S.C. Supreme Court. The suspension came six days after he was arrested by the Rock Hill Police Department on a charge of breach of trust with fraudulent intent, according to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

Disciplinary counsel officials confirmed the suspension but said their investigation is ongoing and could not comment further.

The ruling means Givens can no longer handle client money or legal matters, officials said. The suspension will last up to nine months, the order states.

A public order was posted on the S.C. Supreme Court website.

A new lawyer was appointed to handle all of Givens’ cases for up to nine months, the order states.

The Herald was the first to report Givens had been arrested Sept. 13 after a month-long investigation. Police say Givens did not pay $166,000-plus to the seller of a home purchased in July.

Police say in arrest warrants that Givens also used deceit to hide the fact he does not have the money and is unable to pay off the victim’s mortgage.

Police also stated in the warrant that Givens did not hold the money as required by a lawyer.

A conviction for the charge of breach of trust with fraudulent intent carries up to 10 years in prison under South Carolina law.

The website for Givens’ law practice states he has practiced for more than 35 years.

In 2013 Givens was ordered to pay a $4,000 fine to S.C. Department of Insurance for failing to forward premiums to a title insurance company, according to South Carolina public records.

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Andrew Dys covers breaking news and public safety for The Herald, where he has been a reporter and columnist since 2000. He has won 51 South Carolina Press Association awards for his coverage of crime, race, justice, and people. He is author of the book “Slice of Dys” and his work is in the U.S. Library of Congress.