August 1, 2008
An attorney was suspended for two years with the suspension stayed in favor of probation for misconduct described in the summary from the California Bar Journal:
Clark pleaded no contest to four counts of violating the Insurance Code. As part of his sentence, he was ordered to make restitution to the State Compensation Insurance Fund totaling $82,555.18.
Clark started a successful trucking business in 1985. By the time he was completing law school 14 years later, he spent little time on the business, which was run by his then-girlfriend, his father and a yard supervisor.
Although the company primarily employed independent contractor drivers, it began to switch to full-time employees and Clark gave responsibility for the change to his girlfriend.
The company was required to submit quarterly reports for workers’ compensation insurance purposes, indicating whether it had employees on the payroll. The information was used by the fund to set appropriate insurance premium rates. Companies with no employees enjoy lower rates.
Several reports were submitted that indicated the company had no employees; Clark’s girlfriend said she had not completed the switch from contract drivers although she in fact had hired full-time employees. Once she told Clark the company had driver employees, he sent a check to the Insurance Fund for more than $28,000.
Clark became a successful deputy district attorney in Riverside County and believed the trucking company was in good hands. In fact, it was mismanaged and went out of business.
Criminal charges eventually were filed against Clark based on the incorrect quarterly reports. He was placed on administrative leave and started his own law practice.
The State Bar Court found that his actions did not involve moral turpitude.
In mitigation, Clark cooperated with the bar’s investigation, showed remorse and made restitution, he submitted letters attesting to his good character and, although he was a rising star in the DA’s office, he lost his career there.
The summary reports that the attorney must demonstrate his rehabilitation and take the MPRE within one year. (Mike Frisch)
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