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Illinois Supreme Court disbars 10, suspends 18 in latest disciplinary filing

The Supreme Court of Illinois has announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders entered Nov. 19, during the November 2012 Term of Court. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.

DISBARRED

  • Avalon E'lan Betts-Gaston, Matteson

Ms. Betts-Gaston, who was licensed in Illinois in 2000, was disbarred. Over a period of time, she engaged in several different acts of mortgage fraud/equity stripping. In doing so, she caused significant harm to several clients, all of whom were vulnerable and experiencing serious financial problems. The clients lost money and several lost their homes. She was suspended on an interim basis on June 29, 2011.

  • Andre L. Brady, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Brady was licensed in Illinois in 1998 and in Maryland in 2004. He was disbarred in Maryland for neglecting a civil matter he filed on behalf of a client, charging the client an unreasonable fee of $10,000 for the representation, and failing to cooperate with the disciplinary authority. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.

  • Richard Steven Connors, Skokie

Mr. Connors, who was licensed in 1978, was disbarred. He was found guilty in federal court of conspiring to smuggle Cuban cigars into the United States, smuggling goods into the United States, violating the Trading with the Enemy Act and related regulations, and making false statements on a passport application. He was sentenced to a 37-month prison term, fined $60,000, and ordered to pay a special assessment of $650. He was suspended on an interim basis on December 28, 2004.

  • Sandra L. Craig, Pacific, Mo.

Ms. Craig was licensed in Missouri in 1987 and in Illinois in 1988. She was disbarred in Missouri for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law after she was suspended for failing to pay state taxes and not cooperating with the Missouri disciplinary authority. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred her.

  • Patrick G. Drury, Glen Ellyn

Mr. Drury, who was licensed in 1989, was disbarred on consent. In connection with a loan modification business, he failed to communicate with users of his service and failed to return unearned fees in ten different mortgage loan modification matters.

  • John Farano, Jr., Palos Hills

Mr. Farano, who was licensed in 1989, was disbarred on consent. After a nine-week jury trial, he was found guilty in federal court of wire fraud, mail fraud, and theft of public property. He and his co-defendants, including another Illinois lawyer, acquired residential properties in economically-depressed areas of Chicago with the intent of quickly reselling the properties at fraudulently-inflated prices. He was sentenced to a nine-year prison term.

  • Bruce Paul Golden, River Forest

Mr. Golden, who was licensed in Illinois in 1969, was disbarred. Over the course of three years, he falsified financial aid applications in order to obtain a total of $22,830 in financial aid from his daughter’s private elementary school, aid to which he would not have been entitled had he truthfully reported his income. He also refused to respond to ARDC requests for information about his actions.

  • David Arnold Milks, Darien

Mr. Milks, who was licensed in 1977, was disbarred. He misappropriated more than $13,000 in client settlement funds. He has a disciplinary history.

  • Richard James Salas, Las Vegas, Nev.

Mr. Salas was licensed in Illinois in 1970 and in California in 1976. He was disbarred in California after he pleaded nolo contendere to one felony count of workers’ compensation insurance fraud and one felony count of perjury in California state court. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.

  • Al Henry Williams, Dixon

Mr. Williams, who was licensed in 1985, was disbarred on consent. He misappropriated over $95,000 from a 97-year-old client who was living in a nursing home. He later pleaded guilty to, and was found guilty of, financial exploitation of a disabled person, a Class Four felony.

SUSPENDED

  • Jeffrey Alan Avny, Northbrook

Mr. Avny, who was licensed in 1994, was suspended for 30 days. While working as an independent contractor for a loan modification company, he reviewed, signed and permitted the mailing of two letters to the company’s customers, each of which contained false and misleading information about his law practice, services that he provided to customers, the status of customer matters and outstanding balances. The suspension is effective on December 10, 2012.

  • Charisse Angela Bruno, Buffalo Grove

Ms. Bruno, who was licensed in 1983, was suspended for one year and until further order of the Court. She neglected two client matters, failed to communicate with her clients about the status of their matters, made misrepresentations to one of her clients about the status of that client’s case, and failed to cooperate with the ARDC. She was previously disciplined.

  • Thomas R. Carnes, St. Louis

Mr. Carnes was licensed to practice in Missouri in 1993 and in Illinois in 1994 He was suspended in Missouri for six months, with the suspension fully stayed by a one-year period of conditional probation He neglected a personal injury matter and an immigration matter. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him for six months, with the suspension stayed in its entirety by a one-year period of probation, subject to the same conditions as those imposed in Missouri.

  • Bruce Alan Carr, Valparaiso, Ind.

Mr. Carr, who was licensed Illinois in 2006, was suspended for nine months. He represented an Illinois lawyer named Hess in filing a frivolous lawsuit and frivolous attorney’s liens against clients of the law firm that had previously employed Hess. The suspension is effective on December 10, 2012.

  • Stephen Bruce Evans, St. Louis

(Order entered on October 30, 2012)
Mr. Evans, who was licensed in 1992, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. The ARDC formally charged him with misappropriating at least $97,000 in client funds from his trust and operating accounts, forging two of his clients’ names on settlement checks, and either failing to respond to client inquiries or responding to the inquiries with false representations.

  • Lawrence Joseph Fleming, St. Louis

Mr. Fleming was licensed in Missouri in 1967 and in Illinois in 1968. He was suspended in Missouri for six months, with the suspension stayed in its entirety by a one-year period of conditional probation for neglecting two client matters, making misrepresentations to clients, and providing financial assistance to a client in connection with contemplated litigation. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him for six months, with the suspension stayed in its entirety by a one-year period of probation, subject to the same conditions imposed in Missouri.

  • Kenneth Alan Goldman, Chicago

Mr. Goldman, who was licensed in Illinois in 2000, was suspended for three years and until further order of the Court. In 2009, he was convicted in Colorado for engaging in sexually explicit internet conversations and in the dissemination of obscene materials to a police officer posing as a 12-year-old girl.

  • Lawrence Matthew Haws, Washington, D.C.

(Order entered on September 24, 2012)
Mr. Haws, who was licensed in 2001, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. He pleaded guilty in Iowa to one count of forgery, a felony, and one count of theft, a misdemeanor. While a woman was reading at a public library in Newton, Iowa, Mr. Haws stole her purse and credit cards, and then used the credit cards to make purchases from a Wal-Mart store, including a laptop computer, by forging the woman’s name on credit card receipts.

  • Markian Bohdan Lewun, Chicago

Mr. Lewun, who was licensed in Illinois in 1990, was suspended for 30 days. He attempted to circumvent an Illinois Industrial Commission order approving the terms of a workers’ compensation settlement by having his client pay $16,200.19 more in attorney’s fees than had been approved by an arbitrator. The suspension is effective on December 10, 2012.

  • Ronald Jay McDermott, Chicago

Mr. McDermott, who was licensed to practice in 1991, was suspended for six months and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed after sixty days by a two-year period of conditional probation. He recorded approximately 260 hours for work he falsely claimed to have performed on a client's behalf. His misconduct was discovered before the majority of the charges in question were billed to the client. The suspension is effective immediately.

  • John Stephen Narmont, Springfield

Mr. Narmont, who was licensed in 1967, was suspended for six months minus one day and until he completes the ARDC Professionalism Seminar. He recorded false liens against clients in order to secure his purported fees and prepared, for one of the clients, an assignment of interest in real estate in which he had inserted a clause that required the payment of his purported attorney fees without the client’s knowledge. In addition, he filed false pleadings in two client bankruptcy matters and engaged in a conflict of interest when he represented both the husband and the wife in the same dissolution of marriage proceeding. The suspension is effective on December 10, 2012.

  • John Joseph Pawloski, St. Louis

Mr. Pawloski was admitted in both Illinois and Missouri in 1991. He was suspended indefinitely in Missouri, with the suspension stayed in its entirety by two years of conditional probation. He converted client funds, commingled his own funds with client funds, disbursed one client’s funds to another client, failed to promptly remove personal funds from his trust account, and failed to maintain adequate records of client funds. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him for six months and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed in its entirety by a two-year period of probation subject to the same conditions imposed in Missouri.

  • J.W. Pierceall, Taylorville

Mr. Pierceall, who was licensed in 2001, was suspended for 90 days. While employed as an assistant county prosecutor, he repeatedly advised Christian County correctional officers to set bond, and release inmates under sentence, without prior judicial approval. The suspension is effective on December 10, 2012.

  • Howard Reich, Chicago

Mr. Reich, who was licensed in Illinois in 1980, was suspended for six months. He breached his fiduciary duty as an escrow agent in a loan transaction when he favored a client’s interests over the interests of another party by recording a mortgage prior to the date stated in the escrow instructions. The suspension is effective on December 10, 2012.

  • Robert William Rooney, Jr., Chicago

Mr. Rooney, who was licensed in Illinois in 1969, was suspended for two years and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed after ninety days by a two-year period of conditional probation. He failed to promptly distribute funds that he had been holding on behalf of an estate, neglecting to determine whether there was a lien on the money. Additionally, he neglected a probate case by failing to file a final order of discharge, resulting in the case being stricken from the court call. The suspension is effective on December 10, 2012.

  • Alan Mark Schnitzer, Los Angeles, Calif.

Mr. Schnitzer was licensed in California in 1987 and in Illinois in 1992. He was suspended for a minimum of six months in California, subject to conditions of probation, and will remain suspended until the State Bar Court grants a motion to terminate his suspension. He failed to comply with conditions attached to a public reproval previously imposed on him for neglecting client matters. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him for six months and until further order of the Court.

  • Eugene C. Stahnke, Deerfield

Mr. Stahnke, who was licensed to practice in 1983, was suspended for 18 months and until he successfully completes the ARDC Professionalism Seminar. He prepared instruments giving bequests from his clients to Mr. Stahnke and Mr. Stahnke’s wife. He also converted at least $2,600.21 entrusted to him in two other client matters. The suspension is effective on December 10, 2012.

  • Joel M. Ward, Beverly Hills, Calif.

Mr. Ward was licensed in Illinois in 1963 and in California in 1971. He was suspended in California for one year, with the suspension stayed in its entirety pending completion of a three-year period of conditional probation. He converted $3,000 from a client’s settlement. In addition, he engaged in a conflict of interest when he represented a different client in a libel and slander action against a former client. Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him for one year, with the suspension stayed in its entirety pending completion of a three-year period of probation subject to the conditions imposed in California.

CENSURED

  • Harry P. Friedlander, Phoenix, Ariz.

Mr. Friedlander was licensed in Illinois in 1974 and in Arizona in 1978. In two separate matters, the State Bar of Arizona informally reprimanded him and placed him on probation subject to conditions. He failed to keep a client informed of the status of her personal injury matter, did not adequately communicate the status of his client’s claim, and violated state trust account rules. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and censured him. He was also placed on probation until he successfully completes the terms of his Arizona probations.

  • Theodore Stanley Proud, Springfield

Mr. Proud, who was licensed in 1969, was censured. He assisted a non-attorney in that person’s purported representation of a married couple in two legal matters.

  • Lisa Anne Webber-Hicks, Chicago

Ms. Webber-Hicks was licensed in Illinois in 1991 and in Tennessee in 1997. She was censured in Tennessee for falsely stating to a client that she had obtained a final decree of divorce on the client’s behalf when she had not even filed the divorce, for failing to advise the client that she had been suspended for four years, and for failing to refund the $357 fee she had received from the client after telling the client she would refund the fee. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and censured her.

REPRIMANDED

  • Francis H. Kennedy, Jr., St. Louis

Mr. Kennedy was licensed in both Missouri and Illinois in 1965. He was reprimanded in Missouri for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law after his license was suspended for failure to pay his annual bar enrollment fee. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and reprimanded him.

  • Paul Arthur Silich, Epworth, Iowa

Mr. Silich was licensed in Illinois in 1997 and in Iowa in 2003. He was reprimanded in Iowa for neglecting a personal injury matter for one client and a social security disability case for another client. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and reprimanded him.

Posted on Nov 19, 2012 by Chris Bonjean | Comments (0)
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