Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Dressed Down

A disbarment reported in the May 2016 California Bar Journal

CHARLES GREG LESTER [#160084], 62, of Covina, was disbarred Jan. 15, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court and make restitution.

The State Bar Court found Lester culpable of six counts of misconduct in two client matters including committing acts of moral turpitude by misappropriation and failing to maintain respect due to the courts, report judicial sanctions to the State Bar, deposit client funds in a client trust account, maintain client funds in a client trust account or pay client funds promptly.

In 2013, Lester showed up for his client’s criminal trial more than five hours late. When questioned by the judge, he gave a number of excuses including that his father had threatened his life the night before and he had overslept and could not dress himself when he woke that day due to having had surgery a couple months before. Finding his excuses implausible, the court imposed $1,000 in sanctions, which Lester did not pay and did not report to the State Bar.

In a second matter, Lester requested a client pay him $1,000 to cover the cost of two depositions, then cashed the check and used it for his own purposes. After he settled the client’s case for $15,000, he misappropriated the client’s money. He did not repay any portion of the $11,071.60 settlement or the $1,000 in costs.

He was ordered to pay $12,071.60 plus interest in restitution.

He had two prior records of discipline. In 1998, he was suspended for misconduct that included misappropriation, issuing checks against insufficient funds, and failing to perform with competence, maintain complete records of all funds, securities, and other properties of a client coming into his possession or deposit client funds in his trust account. In 2001, he was suspended for convictions stemming from three separate criminal cases.

(Mike Frisch)


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