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Veteran was hit by car, says lawyer stole $100,000 from settlement

A Purple Heart recipient is seeking justice after he says a lawyer ripped him off. This comes after he got a six-figure settlement after he was hit by a car last year. We learned what’s next for a veteran who needs the money to pay his rising medical bills.

Veteran Jessie Beardsley was hit by a car in 2019 and was given a ticket for going the wrong way. He won a settlement of $100,000 in the case, but he hasn’t seen a penny of it.

“That’s OK. I’m alive,” he said.

Beardsley says he’s lucky to be alive. He barely survived his service during the Vietnam War and was awarded the Purple Heart because of it.

“I was on an armored personnel carrier, and it flipped over and everybody died but me,” Beardsley said.

Last year, he barely survived getting hit by a car while riding his bike around his neighborhood.

“The last thing I [remember] I was beating on her hood telling her to stop and then she finally stopped,” Beardsley said.

Beardsley had to undergo numerous surgeries due to injuries form the crash. He decided to hire Attorney Stephen Jones to sue the driver. They settled for $100,000.

Beardsley assumed his lawyer would use the money to pay his medical bills, but that never happened.

“You get a bill, and it said, ‘If you don’t pay me, we’re going to garnish your wages,’” Beardsley explained. “You know, my pension, so I paid it.”

We learned another man also filed a complaint against Jones with the Florida Bar. During that investigation, it was discovered Jones completely “depleted” Beardsley’s settlement.” The bar called Beardsley to let him know the money was gone.

“Nicest man ever, and I just couldn’t believe it when the guy called me and said he ripped you off,” Beardsley said. “And my wife’s been calling him, sending him bills,” Beardlsey said. “I just hope it don’t happen to anybody else. It’s sad, just sad.”

Investigators have also tried to call Jones, but an automated message says the number is no longer in service.

Through it all, Beardsley still considers himself lucky.

“Oh, I feel bad for my wife, my daughter, you know, my family,” Beardsley said. “They all watch me. They didn’t know if I was going to live. I didn’t know. But I’m here. That’s all that matters.”

Reporter:Dannielle Garcia
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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