Friday, April 8, 2011
A New Jersey attorney with an unblemished disciplinary record was the subject of a random compliance audit of his trust account. The audit revealed that his business account had been dormant for years because of an IRS levy. The attorney thereafter "to circumvent the levy...had been using the trust account for both business and trust matters."
There are are couple of problems here, including years of commingling (but no misappropriation) and conduct involving dishonesty. The attorney did keep records of his handling of entrusted funds but did not not perform regular reconciliations of the account. He fully cooperated with the ensuing investigation.
A stipulation was entered into between the attorney and the Office of Attorney Ethics. The Disciplinary Review Board recommended, and the Supreme Court imposed, a censure.
There are places where an attorney would get a far graver sanction for these violations. Apparently, New Jersey is no longer such a place.
The attorney was admitted in 1971. (Mike Frisch)