Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Shell Game

The Michigan Attorney Discipline Board rejected a tri-county hearing panel's sanction of a one-year suspension and disbarred an attorney

In this case, the conduct established with regard to Counts One and Three alone compel us to increase the level of discipline to disbarment. We recognize that the panel struggled with the fact that respondent may have some positive attributes, such as his activities on behalf of the Humane Society and conservation organizations. But these and other mitigating factors cited, along with the fact that he luckily had sufficient funds to cover his misappropriations and pay those entitled to the funds during, and at the conclusion of, the shell game do not constitute compelling mitigation.

Respondent's father had received funds in connection with the sale of real estate

respondent used the funds to pay both his own personal expenses as well as the business expenses of Koselka Devine, PLC. Neither Harvey Koselka nor the heirs of the Damon Estate were aware of the transfer of funds. (Petitioner's Ex 12.) As of February 23, 2016, the balance of the IOLTA at Old National Bank was $0. That same day, respondent deposited a $45,000 check written from his personal account, into the new Koselka Devine IOLTA at Bank of Ann Arbor, presumably to replenish a portion of the Damon Estate funds. However, these funds were again transferred from the IOLTA to respondent's personal account and the firm's business account at Bank of Ann Arbor.

Count Three involved a $140,000 settlement check.

 

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2020/09/the-michigan-attorney-discipline-board-rejected-a-tri-county-hearing-panels-sanction-of-a-one-year-suspension-and-disbarred-a.html

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