Saturday, April 19, 2008
An Illinois Hearing Board has recommended disbarment in a case involving a single count of neglect and failure to return an unearned fee. The board found that the lawyer had never intended to perform the legal services for which he had been paid and that his conduct was no different from theft or conversion:
"While we have found that Respondent neglected one client matter, we also find that this case has elements of an attorney who abandoned his practice and stole money from his clients. This is not a simple case of neglecting a client matter. Based on the facts, we can reasonably infer that Respondent had no intention of representing the Castellanoses. Instead, he lied to them and essentially stole $5,000. Respondent simply took the money that was supposed to be used for his legal fees, and disappeared, never to be heard from again."