Court suspends law license of Edward “Pete” Vincent

Mr. Vincent at a recent appearance in Edgartown District Court. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

The state’s highest court temporarily suspended the law license of prominent Edgartown attorney and town official Edward “Pete” Vincent on July 7, “pending further proceedings before the Board of Bar Overseers and until further order of this Court,” according to court records.

The ruling, from Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Francis X. Spina, came in response to a request made by a lawyer for the Board of Bar Overseers, the state agency that investigates and disciplines attorneys.

The court ruling means Mr. Vincent cannot practice law while the Board of Bar Overseers continues its investigation and decides whether to sanction the attorney.

Mr. Vincent, a member of the Edgartown conservation commission and Edgartown’s elected representative on the Land Bank commission, faces criminal charges of fiduciary embezzlement and larceny in Edgartown District Court, following his arrest in April. In two separate cases, people involved in real estate transactions alleged they entrusted more than $600,000 to him, but he failed to distribute the money as required by law. That money is still unaccounted for. Mr. Vincent settled two civil lawsuits by making restitution for the missing funds, with proceeds from a mortgage given on land owned by his wife.

Mr. Vincent’s status is now listed as suspended on the state’s record of attorney status. The court sent notice of the suspension to all state and federal courts, the American Bar Association Center of Professional Responsibility, and the state Board of Bar Overseers.

The temporary license suspension is not the final action on the matter. The Board of Bar Overseers will consider the outcome of the criminal trial before taking action, which could range from no sanction, to a public reprimand, to disbarment.