Sunday, January 22, 2017

Lawyer Avoids Bar Boot, Gets 1 Year Suspension After Her Paralegal Filched $16K+ In Real Estate Escrow Funds; Payment Of Full Restitution To Victimized Client Mitigates In Attorney's Favor, Despite Keeping Crappy Escrow Financial Records, Allowing Non-Attorney Perpetrator To Be Signatory On Fiduciary Account, BS-ing Grievance Committee During Probe

Law360 reports:
  • The New Jersey Supreme Court has imposed a retroactive, reciprocal one-year suspension on an attorney who was disciplined in New York after her secretary stole from her real estate client escrow account,(1) according to an order and decision posted Friday [January 13].

    The high court’s Thursday order directed the suspension of Yana Shtindler to be retroactive to September 2013, the date she was administratively suspended from practicing law in the Garden State.
Source: NJ Atty Suspended For Paralegal's Theft Of Client Funds.
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(1) Among the attorney's bad acts:
  • failure to safeguard escrow funds entrusted to her as a fiduciary, incident to her practice of law;
  • failure to maintain a ledger book or similar record of deposits into and withdrawals from her attorney escrow account;
  • misleading the client and another of client's attorneys that, despite numerous demands for the $16,386 in escrow funds in connection with a real estate closing which were at issue in this matter, she had the funds in escrow, when she knew or should have known that she did not have the money;
  • knowingly making false or misleading statements to the Grievance Committee;
  • failure to adequately supervise her paralegal; and
  • improperly authorized a nonattorney to be a signatory on her escrow account.
Among the mitgating factors allowing her to dodge the bar boot, getting away with nothing more than a one year license suspension were:
  • she made full restitution to the client;
  • her remorse;
  • her general reputation as an ethical and honest attorney.
See Matter of Shtindler, 2013 NY Slip Op 02583, 106 AD3d 173 (NY App. Div, 2d Dept. 2013).

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