Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Fraud Conviction Results In Suspension

An attorney's involvement in two loans that were a fraud of over $4 million drew a one-year suspension from the New Jersey Supreme Court.

The crimes were described by the Disciplinary Review Board

That same day, at his plea hearing before the Honorable Jose L. Linares, Chief Judge, U.S.D.N.J., he provided a sworn allocution admitting to his role in the nominee loan scheme, including conspiring to create the false entries designed to deceive MB and the FDIC. Specifically, respondent admitted that, between January 2008 and November 2013, he participated in a scheme to obtain the two nominee loans from MB and to falsify MB’s financial records for the benefit of Daibes. Notably, respondent admitted that he received a portion of the proceeds of the second, $2.625 million loan.

Sentencing mitigation/aggravation

In crafting the sentence, Judge Vazquez accorded great weight to the fact that the loans were repaid and, thus, MB suffered no financial loss; considered that respondent was over eighty years of age and suffered from numerous, severe health issues, including deteriorating urological; cardiac; diabetic; and lower back issues; and that his wife and daughter also suffered from severe health issues. Judge Vazquez acknowledged that respondent had accepted responsibility for his actions, but determined that, although respondent was not acting in his capacity as a lawyer at the time the criminal conduct occurred, he should have been “acutely aware of the impropriety of lying to get a loan.” Judge Vazquez further emphasized that respondent involved his children in the scheme to obtain the second loan. The Judge recognized respondent’s service in the Army Reserve, including six months of active duty, and his numerous charitable acts.

Proposed sanction

On balance, we determine that a one-year suspension is the appropriate quantum of discipline necessary to protect the public and preserve confidence in the bar. Because respondent has resigned from the New Jersey bar, without prejudice, the suspension will be deferred until respondent seeks  reinstatement to the practice of law in New Jersey.

Vice-Chair Gallipoli and Members Petrou, Rivera, and Zmirich voted to recommend to the Court that respondent be disbarred.

(Mike Frisch)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2022/05/the-crimes-were-described-by-the-disciplinary-review-board-that-same-day-at-his-plea-hearing-before-the-honorable-jose-l-l.html

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