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January 25, 2010
The Georgia Supreme Court accepted a petition for the voluntary review panel reprimand in a matter involvling a complaint filed by a business partner of the attorney's spouse. The spouse had cash advances from his American Express account deposited through the attorney's business operating account. The attorney admitted that she violated Rule 8.4(a)(4) "by allowing her operating account to be used even though legal servicers were no provided." The court noted that the attorney has a spotless disciplinary record and no client funds or matters were involved.
In an unrelated matter, the court imposed disbarment of an attorney who "over a period of the three years, while [he] was employed with a law firm, forged the signature of one of firm's principals on checks payable to the firm for attorney's fees and deposited the checks in his personal account. The total sum was $343,639.54, and [he] used these funds to pay his mortgage, credit card bills, and college tuition. He also gave some of the funds to his wife for the purchase of a second home." The attorney had petitioned for voluntary discipline within a range of sanctions that included disbarment.
Finally, the court rejected a special master's proposal for two review panel reprimands of an attorney who, after his suspension, had retained legal fees that he could not earn in light of his status. The State Bar had not opposed the special master's recommendation. (Mike Frisch)
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