Friday, March 20, 2009

Disbarred Lawyer Sanctioned For Unauthorized Practice

The Ohio Supreme Court web page reports a significant sanction for unauthorized practice of law:

The Supreme Court of Ohio ruled today that Bruce Andrew Brown of Cleveland engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in his dealings with five different “clients.” As the sanction for those infractions, the Court imposed civil penalties totaling $50,000; enjoined Brown from any future actions constituting the practice of law; ordered him to cease using the terms “Esq.,” “Esquire” “J.D.” or “Juris Doctor” in connection with his name or business name; and stated that upon a motion by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, the Court would order Brown to appear and show cause why he should not be held in contempt for violating a 2003 Supreme Court injunction barring him from the unauthorized practice of law.

Brown, also known as B. Andrew Brown, B.A. Brown and Amir Jamal Taurab, was previously licensed as an attorney in New York but was disbarred in 1992 and has never been admitted to practice in Ohio.  He has been the subject of three prior complaints of alleged unauthorized law practice in Ohio dating back to 1992. Brown also has an extensive criminal record including multiple felony convictions in 1995 for grand theft, forgery, uttering (presenting fraudulent instruments for payment), and tampering with records based on conduct related to his unauthorized practice of law. In January 2003, he pleaded guilty in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court to a 21-count indictment including six counts of theft, six counts of false representation as an attorney, seven counts of passing bad checks, one count of forgery, and one count of uttering. In June 2003, Brown pleaded guilty to two counts of forgery in Portage County Common Pleas Court.

In today’s decision, the Court adopted findings by the Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law that Brown used business cards and stationery listing himself as “B. Andrew Brown, Esq.” and identifying his business as “B. Andrew Brown & Associations, L.L.C.” to mislead others into believing that he was a licensed attorney. The Court agreed with the board’s findings that Brown accepted fees from and gave legal advice to five persons who believed he was an attorney; prepared and filed legal documents in various courts on behalf of those persons; and represented himself to other attorneys, courts and other parties in those cases as the legal representative of his “clients.”

In imposing the maximum $10,000 civil penalty for each of Brown’s five current violations, the Court noted Brown’s flagrant disregard of its 2003 injunction for similar conduct, his continued involvement in “a pattern of deception and chicanery,” and the significant harm he caused to several of the persons who trusted him as their attorney by abandoning or mishandling their legal matters.

The court's decision is linked here.  (Mike Frisch)

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