July 28, 2010
The Maryland Court of Appeals has suspended an attorney for 90 days for misconduct described in the headnote to the decision:
While representing Garcia on an unrelated matter, [the attorney] was approached by Dianne L.Coston, the grantor of a mortgage to which Roberto Garcia was a successor in interest. In order for Coston to refinance her property, she was required to pay off her mortgage, and
[the attorney] agreed to accept Coston’s check for payment on behalf of Garcia. The money was placed into a trust account, on which [the attorney] later drew a check in the amount of Coston’s payment, payable to cash. [The attorney] gave this check to Garcia, yet Garcia never signed a release for the mortgage, nor did [the attorney] ever prepare one. Coston complained to the Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland (“AGC”) that [the attorney] had not obtained a release from Garcia. When AGC investigated the matter, [the attorney] knowingly misrepresented to both the AGC and Coston that he had prepared a release and sent it to his client, prompting the AGC to dismiss the matter. Three years passed, and Coston still did not receive a release. When the AGC reopened the investigation, [the attorney] once again lied about preparing a release.
Three justices would impose a suspension of six months. (Mike Frisch)
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