Tuesday, July 24, 2012

False Financial Aid Statements Draw Disbarment Recommendation

The Illinois Review Board has recommended disbarment of an attorney for false statements to secure financial aid for his daughter's private school education:

As set forth in the Administrator's Complaint and as found by the Hearing Board, Respondent sought financial aid for his daughter's attendance at Frances Parker, a private school in Chicago for the 1999-2000 school year (Count I), the 2002-2003 school year (Count II) and the 2003-2004 school year (Count III). The school required parents applying for financial aid to submit an application, entitled Parents' Financial Statement (PFS). The statement requested information about the parents' income for the preceding year. Parents were also required to submit a copy of their federal income tax returns for the preceding year with the statement.

Respondent prepared and signed the Parents' Financial Statement for each of the years noted. Respondent falsely declared that the information in the document was true, accurate and complete. Respondent submitted false income amounts to Francis Parker on his PFS in order to be eligible for financial aid and with the intent to mislead the school. In addition, Respondent submitted to Francis Parker false income tax returns for the years 2000, 2001 and 2002, substantially understating the income he declared on his tax returns filed with the Internal Revenue Service for those years.

As to sanction:

Respondent engaged in serious misconduct. Over a period of several years, he provided financial aid applications to his daughter's school and included fraudulent tax returns in order to receive a financial benefit to which he was not entitled. As explained, he also failed to cooperate in the disciplinary investigation in many ways. Although Respondent contends that his behavior during the pre-hearing process and the hearing was proper and that he "fully participated in the process," the record demonstrates otherwise. An attorney's conduct in the disciplinary proceedings is a proper consideration when determining an appropriate sanction.

(Mike Frisch)


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