Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Priest And An Attorney

The web page of the Ohio Supreme Court reports:

The Supreme Court of Ohio has indefinitely suspended the law license of [an] Avon attorney...for violations of state disciplinary rules arising from conduct that resulted in his convictions on federal felony counts of filing false income tax returns, conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and attempting to obstruct the ensuing investigation. [The attorney's] license has been under an interim suspension since April 2009, when the Court was informed of his felony convictions.

In a 7-0 per curiam opinion announced today, the Court adopted findings by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline that between the mid-1990s and 2003 [the attorney], while serving as treasurer and later as chief financial officer of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, engaged in a conspiracy with a co-defendant to conceal income of more than $1.4 million, filed tax returns in which that income was not disclosed, and collaborated with the co-defendant in presenting fraudulent documentation of alleged expenses during a 1999 IRS audit.

The Court agreed with the board’s conclusions that [his] actions violated the state disciplinary rules that prohibit  an attorney from engaging in illegal conduct involving moral turpitude; conduct involving fraud, deceit, dishonesty or misrepresentation; conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice and conduct that reflects adversely on an attorney’s fitness to practice law.

In imposing an indefinite license suspension, the Court specified that [the attorney], who is now on supervised release after serving a prison term for his convictions, will not be eligible to apply for reinstatement until he has completed his term of supervised release and has executed a final agreement with the IRS for restitution of $395,154 in delinquent taxes, interest and penalties.

The attorney's story was that the priest who had employed him wished him to continue to provide services for a yearly payment of $250,000 that was not disclosed to the Diocese. The payments were made off the books and not reported to the IRS.

The court's opinion is linked here.

Additional links to information courtesy of BishopAccountability.org. (Mike Frisch)

 

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