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Illinois Supreme Court disbars 13, suspends 16 in latest disciplinary filing

The Supreme Court of Illinois announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on September 22, 2016, during the September Term of Court. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.

DISBARRED

  • Joel S. Alpert, Buffalo Grove

Mr. Alpert, who was licensed in 1987, was disbarred. He engaged in the unauthorized practice of law by agreeing to represent a client while still serving a two-year suspension for previous misconduct. He also fabricated court documents in order to mislead his client into believing that she was represented by a law firm not involved in the matter. 

  • Bradley F. Aubel, Libertyville

Mr. Aubel, who was licensed in 1997, was disbarred. He was convicted in federal court of obstruction of justice after he converted client credit cards to his own use. In addition, he was convicted of filing a false income tax return when he materially understated his law business’s gross receipts.  He was suspended on an interim basis on January 3, 2013.

  • Dwight Lenore Beck, Ford Heights

Mr. Beck, who was licensed in 1985, was disbarred. He converted $1,800 in client settlement funds, failed to maintain complete records of his trust account, and was convicted on two separate occasions of driving an automobile on a suspended license. He failed to appear at his disciplinary hearing.

  • Robert Christopher Beck, Wheaton

Mr. Beck, who was licensed in 1995, was disbarred. He intentionally misappropriated funds in excess of $700,000 from two elderly clients, one of whom suffered from dementia, and an additional $189,500 from the estate of a third client following that client’s death.

  • Seth Gillman, Chicago

Mr. Gillman, who was licensed in 1993, was disbarred on consent. He pled guilty to federal charges of health care fraud arising from the operation of Passages Hospices, LLC. Mr. Gillman, who was Passages’ founder, co-administrator and co-owner, participated in a scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid by submitting claims for medically unnecessary care. During the course of an audit, he signed letters that attested to the authenticity of files that he knew had been altered to create the false impression that Passages’ services had been properly billed. The Illinois Supreme Court suspended him on an interim basis on July 12, 2016.

  • Reid D. Henderson, Washington D.C. 

Mr. Henderson was licensed in Illinois in 2005 and in the District of Columbia in 2007. The District of Columbia Court of Appeals disbarred him after he neglected six client matters, failed to keep those clients reasonably informed about the status of their cases and engaged in dishonesty when he made false statements to clients and misappropriated fees paid in advance.  The Illinois Supreme Court imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.

  • Gary Edward Kovall, Ely, Minn.

Mr. Kovall, who was licensed in 1973, was disbarred. He was convicted in a federal court in California of conspiracy to commit bribery of an agent of a Native-American tribal government receiving federal funds. He participated in a scheme wherein he steered a Native-American tribe’s casino’s construction projects and land purchases to associates in exchange for kickbacks.

  • Robert Danny Lattas, Oak Brook

Mr. Lattas, who was licensed in 2001, was disbarred on consent. He was convicted in federal court of wire fraud and mail fraud. In a separate federal case, he was charged with bank fraud and making false statements to a lending institution. He later pleaded guilty to those charges. Mr. Lattas took part in a real estate developer’s multi-million dollar scheme to defraud several banks on mortgages for units opening in a condominium tower in the Chicago’s South Loop. He was suspended on an interim basis on June 20, 2016.

  • Ronald L. McPheron, Chicago

Mr. McPheron, who was licensed in 1993, was disbarred. He settled a client’s personal injury case without her authority and then intentionally misappropriated $11,737 in settlement funds he had received on her behalf. He also fabricated settlement documents to conceal actions and did not cooperate with the ARDC investigation into the matter.

  • Kevin David Posch, Jackson, Mo.

Mr. Posch, who was licensed in Illinois in 2012, was disbarred on consent following a conviction in Missouri state court of endangering the welfare of a child, a felony.

  • Frank Anthony Santilli, Chicago

Mr. Santilli, who was licensed in 1989, was disbarred on consent. He knowingly misappropriated over $500,000 in client settlement funds and signed a medical lienholder’s signature to three settlement checks without authority. He was suspended on an interim basis on June 1, 2016.

  • David Joel Silberman, Mequon, Wis.

Mr. Silberman, who was licensed in 1973, was disbarred. While operating a title insurance company in Wisconsin, he transferred more than $460,000 from the company’s escrow accounts to its operating accounts, and used more than $180,000 of that money, which had been supplied by mortgage lenders and real estate purchasers planning to buy properties, to fund the title company’s operations.

  • Dale Robert Wiles, Bethlehem, Pa.

Mr. Wiles, who was licensed in 1997, was disbarred. He pled guilty in a federal court in Pennsylvania to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. He participated in a conspiracy to steer a municipal contract to a law firm, then concealed records from a federal grand jury and made false statements to federal agents to conceal the conspiracy.

SUSPENDED

  • Edward Christopher Abderholden, Chicago 

Mr. Abderholden, who was licensed in 1977, was suspended for six months and until further order of the Court, with the suspension fully stayed by a two-year period of conditional probation. He converted $2,666.50 in client funds and also failed to timely pay medical providers on behalf of that same client when he allowed checks payable to certain medical providers to become stale.

  • Kevin S. Besetzny, Chicago

Mr. Besetzny, who was licensed in 1988, was suspended for one year, with the suspension stayed after ninety days by an eighteen-month period of conditional probation. He neglected two client matters involving commercial and trademark litigation and did not adequately communicate with his clients. The suspension is effective on October 13, 2016.

  • Timothy John Coffey, Naperville

Mr. Coffey, who was licensed in 1994, was suspended for sixty days and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed in its entirety by a two-year period of conditional probation. He was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, resulting in his drivers’ license being revoked. Thereafter, he was arrested for driving on a revoked license. In addition, he inadvertently deposited money belonging to a client into his business account and issued checks to the client prior to those funds being collected. 

  • Jackson Edward Donley, Springfield

Mr. Donley, who was licensed in 1981, was suspended for one year and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed after three months by a two-year period of conditional probation. He filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition for a client in which he falsely stated that the client was unmarried and owed mortgage payments for his residence. In fact, he knew that the client resided with a spouse who had a substantial income, and the client had no rent or mortgage obligation for their home. Mr. Donley also falsely represented in the electronic pleadings that his client had signed printed copies of the pleadings. The suspension is effective on October 13, 2016.

  • Philip C. Gallagher, Concord, Calif.

Mr. Gallagher was licensed in Illinois in 1976 and in California in 1983. The Supreme Court of California suspended him for one year, but stayed the suspension after thirty days in favor of a one-year period of conditional probation. He falsely reported to the California State Bar that he was in compliance with that court’s minimum continuing legal education requirements. The Illinois Supreme Court imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him for thirty days. The suspension is effective on October 13, 2016.

  • Robert W. Gold-Smith, Justice

Mr. Gold-Smith, who was licensed in 2003, 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 solicitation of murder for hire and for solicitation, both Class X felonies. In addition, he is awaiting trial on state charges of aggravated domestic battery (a Class 2 felony), aggravated battery (a Class 3 felony) and unlawful violation of an order of protection (a Class A misdemeanor).

  • Robert Allan Holstein, Chicago

Mr. Holstein, who was licensed in 1962, was suspended for eighteen months. He knowingly used at least $20,000 in fees that were the subject of a citation to discover assets in order to pay personal expenses. The suspension is effective on October 13, 2016.

  • Larry S. Mayster, Chicago

Mr. Mayster, who was licensed in 1955, was suspended for six months, with the suspension stayed after thirty days by a six-month period of conditional probation. He mismanaged approximately $800 in settlement proceeds belonging to third-party lien holders while handling a personal injury matter and failed to maintain complete records for his client trust account. The suspension is effective on October 13, 2016.

  • Vincent J. O'Brien, Chicago

Mr. O’Brien, who was licensed in 1987, was suspended for nine months, with the suspension stayed after four months by a twelve-month period of conditional probation. He did not diligently pursue two personal injury matters and a pending estate matter and he did not inform his clients of, or respond to their requests for information about, the status of their cases. Also, in one of the personal injury matters, he misrepresented the actual status of the case to the client and, in the estate matter, he did not provide his client with an accounting for more than four months after the client’s request. The suspension is effective on October 13, 2016.

  • Douglas Alan Shenk, Northbrook

Mr. Shenk, who was licensed in 1976, was suspended for thirty days and required to complete the ARDC professionalism seminar. He converted $3,210.35 of client and third party funds by using them for his own business or personal purposes. The suspension is effective on October 13, 2016.

  • James E. Taylor, Chicago

Mr. Taylor, who was licensed in 1992, was suspended for one year, with the suspension stayed after sixty days by a two-year period of conditional probation. He did not diligently represent four different clients in a variety of legal matters, failed respond to client requests for information, and did not timely refund unearned legal fees. He also did not deposit the advance payments of legal fees provided by those clients into a client trust account. The suspension is effective on October 13, 2016.

  • John C. Torjesen, Los Angeles

Mr. Torjesen was licensed in Illinois in 1987 and in California in 1989. The Supreme Court of California suspended him for one year, with the suspension stayed after thirty days by a two-year period of conditional probation. He practiced law in connection with three civil matters when his California license had been administratively suspended after he did not comply with a child support order. The Illinois Supreme Court imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him from for one year, with the suspension stayed after thirty days by a two-year period of conditional probation, retroactive to March 20, 2015. The suspension is effective on October 13, 2016.

  • Jarvis Edmond Williams, Houston

Mr. Williams, who was licensed in 2009, was suspended for one year and until further order of the Court. He engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in connection with his handling of two different bankruptcy cases in a Michigan federal court. Further, he made misrepresentations to a federal judge about his authority to practice law in Illinois. Finally, he made material misrepresentations to the court on a fee disclosure form. He failed to appear at his disciplinary hearing.

  • Htin Myat Win, Springfield

Mr. Win, who was licensed in 2012, was suspended for one year. While serving as an Assistant Illinois Attorney General, he made a false statement to a federal judge by claiming that he had notified a witness to appear for a hearing when, in fact, he had not sent notification to the witness. He then created and back-dated a letter to support his false claim, and he repeated the false statement to his supervisor. He later filed a false affidavit repeating the claim and made false statements to the ARDC by again claiming that he had notified the witness about the hearing. The suspension is effective on October 13, 2016.

  • Francis Joseph Coyle, Jr., Rock Island

Mr. Coyle, who was licensed in 1974, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. An ARDC hearing panel earlier found that he had misappropriated $100,000 in escrow funds and made intentional misrepresentations to another attorney about the status of those funds. The panel recommended that he be disbarred.

  • Richard Carl Moenning, Chicago

Mr. Moenning, who was licensed in 1962, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. An ARDC hearing panel earlier found that he had engaged in multiple acts of misconduct in connection with his role as attorney for, and trustee of, two trusts, as well as in his role as attorney in two separate probate matters. The panel found that he had intentionally taken an excessive amount of fees and recommended that he be disbarred.

CENSURED

  • John Richard Gaertner, Jr., Phoenix, Ariz.

Mr. Gaertner was licensed in Illinois in 1992 and in Arizona in 1995. The Attorney Discipline Probable Cause Committee of the Supreme Court of Arizona entered an order admonishing him and placing him on probation for one year, subject to conditions, for entering into a fee agreement without appropriate disclosures and for revealing more confidential client information than was necessary to defend claims made against him by the client in that client’s online review of his representation. The Illinois Supreme Court imposed reciprocal discipline and entered an order censuring him and placing him on conditional probation until his period of probation in Arizona is successfully completed.

  • Robert Alan Habib, Chicago

Mr. Habib, who was licensed in 1980, was censured. He failed to give keep a client reasonably informed about the status of the client’s employment discrimination matter.

  • Peter Alexander Papoutsis, Chicago

Mr. Papoutsis, who was licensed in 1997, was censured. While representing a client in a marriage dissolution proceeding, he obtained the opposing party’s credit report without authorization.

REPRIMAND

  • Mario J. Tarara, Rockford

Mr. Tarara was licensed in Wisconsin in 1998 and in Illinois in 2000. The Supreme Court of Wisconsin publicly reprimanded him for failing to keep a client informed about the status of the client’s matter, for holding himself out as entitled to practice law, and practicing law, in connection with a civil case after his license had been suspended for failing to pay required annual fees to the State Bar of Wisconsin, and for not complying with Wisconsin’s continuing legal education reporting requirements. The Illinois Supreme Court imposed reciprocal discipline and reprimanded him.

  • Charles Augustus Boyle, Chicago

Mr. Boyle was licensed in Illinois in 1966 and in Wisconsin in 1985. The Supreme Court of Wisconsin publicly reprimanded him for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law in connection with a civil litigation matter in Wisconsin after his license to practice law in that state had been suspended administratively, and for making false statements to a tribunal and to Wisconsin disciplinary authorities. The Illinois Supreme Court imposed reciprocal discipline and reprimanded him.

RETIREMENT STATUS

  • John Patrick Coleman, Chicago
  • Stephen N. Roth, Lombard, Illinois
  • William Gerald Schick, Sarasota, Fla.
Posted on Sep 22, 2016 by Morgan Yingst | Comments (1)
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What is such. "state ethics law? Is the author erroneously referring to the Rules of Professional Conduct or some unwritten code of such "ethics" that few have knowledge of or access to ? Y

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