October 19, 2009
Time To Suspend
An attorney had pleaded guilty to operating an unlicensed money transmitting business was suspended by the New York Appellate Division for the First Judiicial Department based on the plea. The court summarized the factual basis for the plea:
On December 1, 2006, respondent pleaded guilty in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York to a charge of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business in violation of 18 USC § 1960(a), a federal felony. Respondent admitted to having provided loans to certain Yemeni immigrants, using checks in amounts of less than $10,000, with knowledge that the checks were intended for deposit in Yemen. On occasion, he received money in exchange for the issuance of checks for the sole purpose of converting cash to checks.
The Departmental Disciplinary Committee (the Committee) advises that additional criminal charges against respondent have not been formally dismissed, and his sentencing remains pending. Respondent has entered into a cooperation agreement with the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and has testified for the Government against his co-defendants, and may be a witness in cases that remain to be tried, all of which involve allegations of money smuggling and loan sharking, with Yemeni immigrants being the alleged victims.
The court rejected the suggestion that suspension was inappropriate prior to sentencing:
Respondent has pleaded guilty to a federal felony and the "possibility" of his moving to withdraw his plea neither affords any basis to refrain from determining his conviction a "serious crime" nor from suspending him immediately. If his conviction is subsequently vacated, any disciplinary sanction may be revoked.
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