Tuesday, September 16, 2008
A Cincinnatti attorney was suspended for two years, with the second year stayed on conditions, for misconduct summarized on the Ohio Supreme Court web page as follows:
The Court adopted findings by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline that Farrell forged his wife’s signature on a power of attorney that he used to borrow $50,000 against a line of credit secured by the couple’s home, and also fabricated multiple letters and other fictitious documents purportedly offering him high-paying jobs.
The Court found that Farrell’s actions violated attorney discipline rules that prohibit engaging in illegal conduct involving moral turpitude and conduct involving fraud, deceit, dishonesty or misrepresentation. The justices overruled objections by Farrell seeking a less severe sanction for his misconduct, noting that his forgery resulted in the granting of a sizable loan that now is at risk of default and his false attestation to the authenticity of his wife’s signature induced another attorney to engage in misconduct by improperly notarizing the forged document.
The attorney's apparent motive was to deceive his wife, also an attorney, into believing that he had left his own small firm and obtained more lucrative employment. She left her job as a senior associate in a firm earning about $100,000 as a result. When he was unable to increase his earnings, he engaged in forgery to borrow money to sustain their lifestyle. She divorced him when he revealed what he had done and he reported himself to the bar. Although he suffers from depressive disorder, he conceded that the condition did not cause the misconduct. The court noted that "[he] cannot explain his fabrications and forgery, so we have nothing from which to conclude that he will not repeat his wrongdoing." (Mike Frisch)