June 28, 2012
"Pervasive Dishonesty" Leads To Permanent Disbarment
The web page of the Ohio Supreme Court reports:
The Supreme Court of Ohio has permanently revoked the law license of Cleveland attorney William M. Crosby for engaging in a pattern of misconduct that included a felony conviction for failing to file federal income tax returns from 2001 through 2006, commingling his own funds with funds held for clients in his law office trust account to conceal income from the IRS, and billing clients in a civil lawsuit for $30,000 in claimed litigation expenses when actual documented expenses in the case were only half that amount.
In a 7-0 per curiam decision announced today, the court adopted findings by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline that Crosby violated, among others, the state disciplinary rules that prohibit an attorney from engaging in illegal conduct involving moral turpitude; conduct involving fraud, deceit, dishonesty or misrepresentation; conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice; and conduct that reflects adversely on the attorney’s fitness to practice law.
In finding that the appropriate sanction for his current misconduct was permanent disbarment, the court noted the aggravating factors that Crosby’s license has been under suspension since 2009 for prior disciplinary rule violations, and that he harmed vulnerable clients, acted with a selfish and dishonest motive, made false and misleading statements during the disciplinary process, and failed to make any restitution toward a $314,000 award obtained against him by the IRS.
The court wrote: “Crosby lied to the IRS, the bankruptcy trustee, his clients, the courts, and disciplinary counsel. His pervasive dishonesty, combined with his misappropriation of client funds, compels us to permanently disbar Crosby from the practice of law in Ohio.
The court noted that some of the attorney's clients were vulnerable persons "who apparently were abused not only by a priest, but by the lawyer they trusted to right the wrongs that had been done to them as children."
The opinion is linked here. (MIke Frisch)
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