Sunday, May 21, 2017

California State Bar Continues Weeding Out Sticky-Fingered Lawyers For Ripping Off Client Settlement Funds

In Los Angeles, California, the Northern California Record reports:
  • Pasadena attorney Mary Derparseghian was disbarred by the State Bar Court of California on Jan. 19.

    The decision came after both the attorney and the Office of the Chief Trial Counsel appealed the original disciplinary ruling suspending the attorney for two years for misconduct a client matter.

    In the first matter, Derparseghian was hired by two clients in February 2010 to represent them in a complaint against their homeowner’s association. The clients paid the attorney $5,000 in advance fees that Derparseghian failed to deposit into her client trust account. The attorney earned her clients $111,500, of which $65,799.76 was to be allotted to them. Derparseghian failed to maintain that balance in her trust account and withdrew nearly $90,000 for herself. The clients contacted the attorney for their settlement, but Derparseghian allegedly misaddressed a letter to the clients that explained the settlement process and requested signatures for the funds to be released.

    The clients did not receive the letters and filed complaints with the State Bar of California.

    In another matter, the lawyer was accused of not properly representing a client, including not telling him about a necessary court appearance and not getting in a continuance request.

    The original decision to suspend Derparseghian was overturned upon appeal when it was determined that the attorney’s actions were intentional and additional aggravating factors were discovered than mitigating.
Source: Pasadena attorney disbarred for misappropriating funds.
(1) The California State Bar's Client Security Fund is a discretionary fund that can reimburse clients who have lost money or property due to theft or dishonesty by a California lawyer. It is a State Bar program funded entirely by California lawyers. The amount the fund may reimburse for theft committed by a California lawyer depends on when the loss occurred. A maximum of $50,000 is reimbursable if the loss occurred before January 1, 2009. A maximum of $100,000 is reimbursable if the loss occurred on or after January 1, 2009.

For similar "attorney ripoff reimbursement funds" that sometimes help cover 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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