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Illinois Supreme Court disbars 8, suspends 14

The Illinois Supreme Court disbarred eight lawyers, suspended 14, censured one and reprimanded three in its latest disciplinary filing. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics rules.

DISBARRED

  • Manny A. Aguja, Chicago

Mr. Aguja, who was licensed in Illinois in 1994, was disbarred on consent. He pled guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud and was sentenced to a 24-month prison term. He had participated in a conspiracy to arrange marriages for foreign nationals for the purpose of evading provisions of the immigration laws.

  • Marc Robert Engelmann, Davenport, Iowa

Mr. Engelmann, who was licensed in 1994, was disbarred on consent.  He was found guilty by a federal jury on nine counts of conspiracy, bank fraud, and wire fraud. He was involved in a mortgage fraud scheme where mortgage loans were obtained for unqualified buyers on at least nine different properties in amounts in excess of the properties’ actual values. He was sentenced to a 36-month prison term.

  • Albert Liberfarb, Buffalo Grove

Mr. Liberfarb, who was licensed in 1998, was disbarred on consent. Over a three-year period, he assisted a non-lawyer in the unauthorized practice of law by permitting that non-lawyer to handle personal injury matters at his firm. He also shared legal fees with the non-lawyer.

  • Emmett James Marshall, Chicago

Mr. Marshall, who was licensed in 1985, was disbarred and ordered to pay certain restitution. He misappropriated approximately $14,500 in client and third party funds in four separate matters.  In addition, he neglected a client’s personal injury claim.

  • Mark Gerard Mulroe, Chicago

Mr. Mulroe, who was licensed in 1989, was disbarred on consent. He breached a fiduciary duty to a client by obtaining at least $750,000 from the client in order to make loans to Mr. Mulroe’s law partner’s family, his personal banker’s family business, and to himself.

  • Tracy Peterlin, Temecula, Calif.

Ms. Peterlin, who was licensed in Illinois in 1989 and in California in 1996, was disbarred. She neglected seven client matters, made false statements to the California Bar in connection with three of those client matters, made misrepresentations to one of her clients, and failed to cooperate with the California Bar. She also engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in Minnesota. The supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred her.

  • Mark Edward Vietzen, Wood Dale

Mr. Vietzen, who was licensed in 1996, was disbarred. He induced a client, in her capacity as an estate executor, to lend him $375,000 in estate funds to purchase a home for himself without making appropriate conflict of interest disclosures, and then failed to repay those funds. He also neglected a real estate matter for the same client when he did not appear at the closing and he was dishonest when he gave her his reasons for failing to appear at closing. He did not participate in his disciplinary hearing.

  • William G. Wells, Santa Monica, Calif.

Mr. Wells was admitted in Illinois in 1955 and in California in 1959. The Supreme Court of California disbarred him for repeatedly lying under oath, misappropriating more than $88,000 in settlement proceeds belonging to his secretary and converting an additional $60,000 security deposit from a tenant of the secretary’s property, and for filing an unjust action against his secretary alleging that Mr. Wells’ wife had a community property interest in the secretary’s property when Mr. Wells knew that neither he nor his wife had any interest in the property. The supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.

SUSPENDED

  • Sheldon Lee Banks, Deerfield

Mr. Banks, who was licensed in Illinois in 1965, was suspended for thirty days and until he makes certain restitution. He failed to communicate with a client, failed to refund an unearned fee, and attempted to limit the client’s right to pursue a grievance with the ARDC. The suspension is effective on April 9, 2012.

  • Bruce A. Brennan, DeKalb

Mr. Brennan, who was licensed in 1986, was suspended for four months, with the suspension stayed in its entirety by a one-year term of probation with conditions. He pled guilty to driving under the influence, was sentenced to a one year period of court supervision, and was fined.  Later, he pled guilty to an unrelated charge of possessing cannabis. For that offense, he was sentenced to eighteen months of court supervision and was fined $500.

  • Patrick Nichiolas Burkhart, Downers Grove

Mr. Burkhart, who was licensed in 1994, was suspended for one year and until further order of the Court, with all but the first 90 days stayed in favor of a two-year period of probation subject to conditions. He did not file patent applications or respond to requests for information from the United States Patent and Trademark Office in four separate patent matters. He also used the name of a deceased intellectual property attorney in the name of his new firm even though he had never been a partner or had a formal association with that lawyer prior to his death. The suspension is effective on April 9, 2012.

  • Bruce D. Carrol, University City, Calif.

Mr. Carroll was licensed in Illinois in 1979 and in California in 1983. The Supreme Court of California suspended him for one year, but stayed the suspension for two years by conditional probation, for neglecting three client matters and failing to cooperate in the State Bar’s disciplinary investigation of his conduct. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him for one year, with the suspension fully stayed by probation with conditions.

  • Michael Edward Fezekas, Lemont

Mr. Fezekas, who was licensed in 1978, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. He was charged in Cook County with fourteen felony counts of child pornography.

  • Kenneth Gurber, Chicago

Mr. Gurber, who was licensed in 1973, was suspended for two years and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed after thirty days by a two-year period of probation subject to conditions, after he was convicted of disorderly conduct for exposing himself to people in the common pool area of his residential condominium building. The conduct was related to a lapse in sobriety, for which he has now received appropriate treatment. The suspension is effective on April 9, 2012.

  • Robert A. Huff, Chicago

Mr. Huff, who was licensed in 1997, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. He was convicted in a federal court in Wisconsin of conspiracy to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana.

  • Robert James Kennedy, Chicago

Mr. Kennedy, who was licensed in 1971, was suspended for one year and until he makes certain restitution with interest.  He commingled escrow funds that he had been holding for two separate clients to pay their pro rata shares ofproperty taxes and failed to promptly deliver the funds when requested. In one instance, he also converted $6,584 in escrow funds he was holding and failed to return the entire amount to the client. The suspension is effective on April 9, 2012.

  • Kevin F. Plachta, Plainfield

Mr. Plachta, who was licensed in 1989, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. He was found guilty in the Circuit Court of Will County of two felony counts of possession of child pornography.

  • Monte David Rolls, Grayslake

Mr. Rolls, who was licensed in 2001, was suspended for one year and until further order of the Court. He commingled and converted client funds, neglected a client’s expungement matter, failed to promptly refund an unearned fee, and made material misrepresentations to his client and to the ARDC.

  • Robert C. Thomas, Burr Ridge

Mr. Thomas, who was licensed in 1969, was suspended for one year. He continued to practice law after he was suspended for professional misconduct and he made a material misrepresentation to a tribunal in a litigation matter.

  • Timothy John Walsh, Palatine

Mr. Walsh, who was licensed in 1990, was suspended for one year and seven months and until further order of Court. On September 20, 2010, he was suspended by the Court for two years and until further order, with the suspension stayed after five months by a three-year period of probation with conditions, for misconduct relating to his role as a trustee for various life insurance trusts. He mismanaged approximately $87,000 of funds he held on behalf of the trusts. Because he failed to comply with the terms of his discipline, the probation was revoked.

  • Lisa Anne Webber-Hicks, Chicago

Ms. Webber-Hicks was licensed in Illinois in 1991 and in Tennessee in 1997. The Supreme Court of Tennessee suspended her for four years for forging her former partner’s signature to a settlement agreement and to a purported agreed order filed in court, and for neglecting a client’s case. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended her for four years and until she is reinstated in Tennessee. The suspension is effective on April 9, 2012.

  • George Mark Zuganelis, Chicago

Mr. Zuganelis, who was licensed in 1978, was suspended for one year, with all but the first 30 days stayed in favor of an 18-month period of probation subject to conditions. He neglected several civil matters, made misleading statements to a client and offered to settle the client’s legal malpractice claim against him without advising the client to seek independent legal representation. The suspension is effective on April 9, 2012.

CENSURED

  • John Allen O'Malley, Park Ridge

Mr. O’Malley, who was licensed in 1973, was censured. After taking retired status on the Master Roll of Attorneys, he appeared in court and before administrative bodies and filed pleadings in six matters handled for relatives. In one of those matters, he continued to assist his client with a pro se filing after the judge assigned to the matter had ordered him to withdraw from representing his client because he was not authorized to practice.

REPRIMAND

  • Michael Frederick Hupy, Milwaukee, Wis.

Mr. Hupy was licensed in Wisconsin in 1972 and in Illinois in 1997. The Supreme Court of Wisconsin publicly reprimanded him for sending out mass-mailing advertising brochures to potential clients wherein he made false statements about a competitor’s law practice after the competitor had been suspended for professional misconduct. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and reprimanded him.

  • Ronald Everett Scott, Chicago

Mr. Scott, who was licensed in 2001, was censured and required to complete the ARDC Professionalism Seminar within one year. He engaged in the unauthorized practice of law by representing clients in civil cases after his name was removed from the Master Roll of Attorneys for not paying his registration fee.

  • Michael Alan Sue, Peoria

Mr. Sue, who was licensed in 2004, was censured and was ordered to complete the ARDC Professionalism Seminar. He provided improper financial assistance to multiple clients.

 

Posted on Mar 20, 2012 by Chris Bonjean | Comments (1)
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The authors may have coined a new term with "lapse in sobriety" as a potential replacement for the outdated "fell off the wagon".

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