Saturday, February 11, 2017

Crooked Lawyer Who Gained Bar Readmission After Serving One Year Disbarment For Stealing $100K From Client Gets Bar Boot Again; License Now Yanked For 20 Years After Pilfering $200K From Another Client; First Two Years To Be Spent In Prison On Heels Of Federal Conviction

In Hartford, Connecticut, The Connecticut Law Tribune reports:
  • A Glastonbury attorney who was previously disbarred for one year and a day for stealing from a client has been disbarred again for the same thing, this time for 20 years.(1)

    Hartford Superior Court Judge Antonio C. Robaina had strong words for Craig Larsen, formerly of Craig Larsen Law Offices, as he disbarred the man for embezzling $200,000 from a client.(2) The disbarment comes after Larsen was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison, 36 months of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution on Nov. 4.

    Larsen previously vowed to never violate a client's trust again after apologizing for stealing $100,000 from a client between 2007 and 2009, a factor Robaina repeatedly noted in handing out the stiffer punishment.

    "Mr. Larsen has violated a duty to his client in the repeated commission of criminal acts against his own client," wrote Robaina, whose order was included in a summary of December disciplines. "In simple words, he stole. He stole often and much. He stole for no good reason, given the fact that his salary and compensation were adequate to support a comfortable lifestyle."

    Robaina added that Larsen also "obstructed the disciplinary process by engaging in perjury before the committee on recommendations."
    After his first disbarment, Larsen filed for an application for readmission to the state bar through the Committee on Recommendations for Admission. In support of his application for reinstatement, which he eventually received, Larsen, at the time, said, "This is a 2 1/2 year (from 2007 to 2009) period of my life where my behavior was abhorrent, and otherwise my life has been, I think, exemplary." In other declarations, Larsen said, "I will never steal again, and I would never steal from a client again."
For the story, see Attorney Who 'Stole Often and Much' Disbarred 20 Years (may require subscription; if no subscription, GO HERE, then click the appropriate link for the story).
(1) See generally, Frederick Miller, "If You Can't Trust Your Lawyer .... ?", 138 Univ. of Pennsylvania Law Rev. 785 (1990) for more on the apparent, long-standing tolerance for deceit by many in the legal profession (while Professor Miller's essay is over a quarter-century old, it appears that his observations maintain their vitality to this day):
  • This tolerance to deception is encouraged by the profession's institutional civility. Seldom is a fig called a fig, or a shyster a shyster. No, our euphemisms are wonderfully polite: "frivolous conduct," or a "lack of candor;" or "law-office failure;" or, heaven forbid, a "peculation," a "defalcation," or a "negative balance" in a law firms's trust account.

    There is also widespread reluctance on the part of lawyers --- again, some lawyers --- to discuss publicly, much less acknowledge, that they have colleagues who engage in deceit and unprofessional conduct.

    This reluctance is magnified when the brand of deceit involves the theft of client money and property, notwithstanding that most lawyers would agree that stealing from clients is the ultimate ethical transgression.
    The fact is, however, that theft of client property is not an insignificant or isolated problem within the legal profession. Indeed, it is a hounding phenomenon nationwide, and probably the principal reason why most lawyers nationwide are disbarred from the practice of law.
(2) The Client Security Fund is a fund established by the rules of the Connecticut Superior Court to provide reimbursement to individuals who have lost money or property as a result of the dishonest conduct of an attorney practicing law in the State of Connecticut, in the course of the attorney-client relationship. The fund provides a remedy for clients who are unable to obtain reimbursement for their loss from any other source.

For similar "attorney ripoff reimbursement funds" that attempt to clean up the financial mess created by the dishonest conduct of lawyers licensed in other states and Canada, see:
Maps available courtesy of The National Client Protection Organization, Inc.

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