Ex-lawyer must return $27,000

WARREN – Ex-lawyer Richard LaCivita was ordered Monday to pay back $27,000 to a Hubbard woman who was shorted money over a real estate deal while LaCivita wasn’t licensed to practice law.

The Ohio Supreme Court issued the order, saying LaCivita has until April 15 to make restitution to Donna Rose or risk being found in contempt.

LaCivita admitted in January that he had practiced law without a license after he surrendered those credentials in November 2012.

The admission followed a formal complaint from the Trumbull County Bar Association, which claimed LaCivita continued to practice out of his Associated Land Title Co. on West Liberty Street after he resigned or retired with discipline pending.

LaCivita admitted, in a response, that he continued notarizing documents and failed to notify ”clients, tribunals, counsel and others that he had resigned from the practice of law.”

Although he maintained a law office and real estate office, he never practiced in any form before any court, judge, board, commission or other public authority, according to the response.

The response also admitted failing to reimburse Rose, who claimed in an affidavit that LaCivita bilked her out of $27,000 on a real estate deal.

Rose and her husband say LaCivita handled a real estate closing for them in July of 2013 even though he lost his right to act as an agent to issue title insurance.

The couple turned over nearly $70,000 that LaCivita told them was needed to close the deal and pay off a mortgage on the property. Instead, the couple was informed later they needed $27,000 to complete the deal, and they had to come up with the additional money.