January 20, 2009
No Need To Suspend
An attorney who was convicted of failure to file state tax returns in 2003 and 2004 was censured by the New York Appellate Division for the First Judicial Department. A non-suspensory sanction was deemed appropriate:
Respondent presented substantial mitigating evidence. It is uncontested that her failure to file taxes was due to a dire financial situation which was primarily attributable to expenses she incurred in taking care of both her parents for over twenty years. She was not motivated by dishonesty, a lavish lifestyle or the desire for a personal accumulation of wealth. Moreover, respondent voluntarily disclosed her failure to file federal income taxes to the IRS. She corrected her failures with the IRS, reached an agreement, and complied with a payment plan to satisfy her outstanding federal taxes, plus interest and penalties. Respondent acknowledged and took responsibility for her failure to similarly reach out to the State Department of Taxation and Finance. She related her intention to contact the state after her federal liabilities were repaid. While she testified about severe debt and her medical and psychological problems, she did not seek to excuse or justify her conduct but to demonstrate how her mind set negatively contributed to her ability to adequately address her day-to-day personal needs. Respondent admitted that this caused her to pursue a course of action contrary to law, her own self-interest and her own good judgment. Respondent fully cooperated with the state authorities and the Committee in both the criminal and disciplinary matters. She has no disciplinary history, she has an excellent reputation as an honest and skilled practitioner, and she has expressed remorse.
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