January 23, 2012
Conflict But Not A Part Of The Fraud
The Illinois Review Board has recommended a three-month suspension of an attorney who represented a buyer and seller in a real estate transaction. Unbeknownest to the attorney, the deal itself was a fraud.
The board's summary:
The Hearing Board found that Respondent engaged in a conflict of interest, breached his fiduciary duty to his clients and committed other misconduct by representing both the buyer and the sellers in a real estate transaction that appeared to involve a fraudulent scheme. Respondent was not a participant in the scheme with disastrous consequences for the buyer of the property, but they were not caused by Respondent.
The Hearing Board found only a few factors in mitigation or in aggravation. Noting that Respondent did not act fraudulently or in furtherance of his own financial gain, it recommended that Respondent be suspended for three months.
The Administrator argues upon review that the Hearing Board's finding that there was not clear and convincing evidence that Respondent failed to keep his client reasonably informed about a matter was against the manifest weight of the evidence and that when all of the findings in aggravation are considered, a suspension of at least one year is appropriate. After reviewing the findings of the Hearing Board and making some findings of our own, we conclude that the finding as to this charge was not against the manifest weight of the evidence. We recommend that Respondent be suspended for three months.
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