Friday, April 9, 2010

Misuse Of Client Information Leads to Conviction, Disbarment

A summary of a disciplinary case from the web page of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers:

The respondent was convicted by a jury on March 5, 2008, in the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court of Michigan of three counts of the crime of stealing, retaining, or using a financial transaction device without consent in violation of Michigan Penal Code 750.157(n). The facts at the trial established that the respondent obtained the personal checking account number of his clients, which he, without their knowledge or consent, retained and disclosed to three service providers to secure services for his personal benefit.

Stealing, retaining or using a financial transaction device without consent is deemed a felony in the state of Michigan and includes as necessary elements theft and deceit. The respondent was convicted of a “serious crime” as defined by S.J.C. Rule 4:01, §12(3).

On March 31, 2008, the respondent was temporarily suspended from the practice of law. Matter of Azzam, 24 Mass. Att’y Disc. R. 19 (2008). On September 17, 2009, the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the respondent’s convictions. Michigan v. Azzam, 2009 WL 2974815 (Mich. App.). On November 10, 2009, the respondent submitted an affidavit of resignation pursuant to S.J.C. Rule 4:01, §15, to the Board of Bar Overseers in which he admitted to the convictions and that his conduct violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.6 (a), 1.8(b), 8.4(b), and (c). Bar counsel recommended that the affidavit of resignation be accepted and a judgment of disbarment enter effective retroactive to the date of the respondent’s compliance with the order of temporary suspension.

On December 14, 2009, the Board voted to accept the respondent’s resignation and recommend his disbarment retroactive to April 3, 2008. On December 22, 2009, the Board filed an information and its recommendation with the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County. On January 7, 2010, a single justice of the county court, Botsford, J., entered a judgment of disbarment effective April 3, 2008.

The order of disbarment was entered on January 10, 2010. (Mike Frisch)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2010/04/misuse-of-client-information-leads-to-conviction-disbarment.html

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