Wednesday, August 31, 2011

One Bounced Check

A Massachusetts attorney has been suspended for 18 months for the following misconduct:

In August 2009, the respondent wrote a check from his IOLTA account to pay a personal obligation. The respondent knew when he wrote the check that he did not have sufficient funds in the IOLTA account to fund the check and that the bank likely would not honor the check. The check was dishonored due to insufficient funds.

Bar counsel contacted the respondent in August 2009 and requested account records and an explanation for the dishonored check. The respondent received two extensions to reply, then failed to send in the requested information. As a consequence, he was administratively suspended by the Supreme Judicial Court on January 13, 2010 for failure to cooperate with bar counsel. He has not been reinstated and has failed to close his IOLTA account or otherwise comply with the order of administrative suspension.

The respondent’s conduct in writing a check from his IOLTA account to pay a personal obligation violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.15(e)(4). The respondent’s conduct in writing a check that he knew would be dishonored due to insufficient funds violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4(c) and (h). The respondent’s conduct in intentionally failing without good cause to cooperate with bar counsel’s investigation violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.1(b) and 8.4(g). The respondent’s knowing failure to comply with the order of administrative suspension and the provisions of S.J.C. Rule 4:01, § 17, violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4(d).

A lot of trouble for bouncing one check. Never write an escrow check to pay a persoonal obligation. If an escrow check bounces, fully cooperate with the (inevitable) Bar investigation. (Mike Frisch)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2011/08/a-massachusetts-attorney-has-been-suspended-for-18-months-for-the-following-misconduct.html

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Comments

"Never write an escrow check to pay a personal obligation. If an escrow check bounces, fully cooperate with the (inevitable) Bar investigation."

True words, Mike, but you are likely "preaching to the choir" with this one. I don't imagine that many of this blog's readers are the type to write a (bad) check for personal reasons from their clients' funds.

At least I hope not!! ;-)

Posted by: Tre Critelli | Aug 31, 2011 12:53:29 PM

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