Thursday, August 26, 2010
The New York Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department has disbarred an attorney for misappropriating entrusted funds, rejecting the attorney's (rather unrealistic) request for a public censure:
In the instant case, Special Referee Posner noted that the respondent treated escrow money as his personal bank account. Although he claimed that none of his clients was hurt because he returned all of the money he misappropriated, he violated his fiduciary obligation as a member of the Bar. Significantly, the respondent engaged in deceitful conduct by issuing checks containing a false memo entry to disguise the true source of funds.
Notwithstanding the mitigation offered, the respondent has exhibited a blatant disregard of his fiduciary responsibilities which warrants his disbarment.
Practice tip to those who handle other people's money: this form of ethical misbehavior rarely results in a public censure. (Mike Frisch)