Thursday, December 14, 2017

Calling Jerry Lundegaard: Would You Buy A Used Car From This Attorney?

Discipline imposed by the New York Appellate Division for the Third Judicial Department

As a result of, among other things, his involvement in a scheme to defraud a lender during the course of his ownership of a car dealership, respondent pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in violation of 18 USC § 371 in December 2005. Respondent's plea agreement was accepted by the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut and, by judgment filed April 29, 2010, he was sentenced to 366 days in prison and ordered to pay a fine in the amount of $10,000. As a result of his conviction, in August 2015, respondent was suspended from the practice of law in Connecticut.

The FBI New Haven posted on the sentencing in the criminal case.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in 1997, HERNANDEZ, who is also a certified public accountant and an attorney, established Shoreline Motors Corporation, which owned the assets of Shoreline Mitsubishi in Branford, Connecticut. In 2000-2001, HERNANDEZ was the sole owner of Shoreline Motors Corporation. In early 2002, HERNANDEZ transferred 25 percent of Shoreline Motors Corporation’s stock to Shoreline Mitsubishi’s General Manager, Angel Hernandez, who is not related to ANTHONY HERNANDEZ.

Fairlane Credit, a now-defunct lender based in New Jersey, provided financing to some customers who purchased cars at Shoreline Mitsubishi. In some instances, Fairlane Credit required customers to provide a down payment as part of the purchase to provide an incentive to the customers to make their monthly payments. Between approximately December 2000 and August 2001, Shoreline Mitsubishi on occasion submitted false credit applications and other documents through interstate wires to Fairlane Credit indicating that customers had provided cash down payments to Shoreline Mitsubishi when, in fact, Shoreline Mitsubishi had not collected such down payments from the customers. HERNANDEZ has admitted that he knew of and condoned this practice. Also, in Shoreline Mitsubishi’s books and records, HERNANDEZ indicated that the dealership had received down payments from these customers when, in reality, the dealership had not done so. At Shoreline Mitsubishi, these bogus down payments were called “Fugazys.

He failed to respond in New York.

Inasmuch as this matter is now ripe for a final order of discipline (see Judiciary Law § 90 [4] [g]), we grant that part of AGC's uncontested motion seeking to impose discipline upon respondent due to his conviction of a serious crime and turn to the inquiry of the appropriate discipline (see Matter of Bouchard, 132 AD3d 1228, 1229 [2015]; Matter of Joslin, 289 AD2d 775, 775 [2001]).1 In aggravation of his misconduct, we note that respondent failed to advise this Court of his conviction within 30 days (see Judiciary Law § 90 [4] [c]; Matter of Briggs, 120 AD3d 1522, 1523 [2014]), nor did he advise us of his prior discipline in Connecticut (see Matter of Sgambettera, 144 AD3d 1488, 1489 [2016]; Rules of the App Div, 3d Dept [22 NYCRR] former § 806.19 [b]). Moreover, respondent's biennial registration delinquency is egregious, having failed to register for the last 11 reporting periods (see Matter of Nichols, 152 AD3d 1044, 1045 [2017]). Based upon these factors, respondent's clear disinterest in his fate as an attorney, as well as our consideration of all the facts and circumstances, we conclude that, in order to protect the public, maintain the honor and integrity of the profession and deter others from committing similar misconduct, respondent should be disbarred in this state.

You know, they put that trucoat on at the factory. (Mike Frisch)

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