March 12, 2012
Show Me the Money
The New Jersey Supreme Court imposed a three-month suspension as recommended by the Disciplinary Review Board for misconduct relating to the rep[resentation of a client who believed that he was not given funds from a retirement party that he was entitled to receive.
The client gave the attorney two things to hold as evidence --- five $100 bills and a gift travel certificate. Issues arose over the attorney's handling of the bills. The gift certificate expired while in the possession of the attorney.
The board found a number of ethical violations. Significantly, the attorney lied at the hearing over the handling of the $100 bills:
At first, he uneqivocally testified that the five $100 bills had been kept in his office safe, intact, until that day. When the panel chair asked him to retieve his safe to show the bills to the panel, he pulled five $100 bills from his pocket, representing that they were the same bills that he had kept as evidence for the...matter. Three of the bills, however, had been printed in 2006, three years after [the client] had given him the money. Respondent, thus, lied when he said that the bills were in the safe, intact. He also testified that a post-it note label identifying the billa as evidence was still in his safe. When he opened the safe, however, his testimony was again proven false.
False testimony under oath at a bar discipline hearing gets the attorney suspended for three months in New Jersey.
In D.C., I'm pleased to say, it can get you disbarred. (Mike Frisch)
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