Thursday, September 4, 2008

Trust Account Misuse And Other Misconduct Merits Suspension

An attorney was indefinitely suspended for at least one year by the Minnesota Supreme Court for misconduct that included a conflict of interest and misuse of his client trust account to shield his assets from the Internal Revenue Service. The conflict of interest involved his securing an affidavit from one client in which she admitted that she had perjured herself. The lawyer filed affidavit was filed in order to seek reconsideration of an adverse ruling against another client. the affiant was charged with perjury as a result and was represented by the lawyer at trial, where she was convicted. he had engaged in other misconduct that included the use of his trust account as a check-cashing service that put entrusted funds at risk.

The lawyer had previously been reprimanded by North Dakota and the Eighth Circuit.  The court here concluded that "[a]lthough his conduct did not lead to known financial losses for his clients, client funds were exposed to the claims of [his] creditors when he used his trust account to shelter his own funds from the IRS." The conflict of interest "resulted in significant nonfinancial harm to [the client]." (Mike Frisch)

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