Summary: California disbarred 15 attorneys in the month of February for various violations including misappropriation of funds and criminal charges.
The State Bar of California has Disbarred 15 attorneys during the month of February 2017. When an attorney is disbarred in California, their name is removed from the roster of California attorneys and is ineligible to practice law. They are generally required to notify clients and invested parties of their new status.
- Dean Robert Kitano
Kitano of Santa Ana was disbarred on Feb. 19. He Failed to report a fraud judgment against him to the State Bar. He was found to have made false representations, to mislead a judge or judicial officer, and engaged in acts regarding moral turpitude. Kitano created a company in 2007 called ING Radiology Medical Center. In a partnership with Mir Akhorli, they planned to open a MRI facility in Long Beach as equal partners. Akhorli entered into the same plan and partnership with another person, who was unaware of the first agreement. Akhorli was sued by an investor from another MRI facility and the judgment in that suit resulted in the Long Beach facility being shut down and seized. Kitano claimed that ING was the co-owner not the other person. That person sued to get their money back. The court found Kitano liable for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud by concealment, fraud by intentional misrepresentation and more.
- Rodger B. Haglund II
Haglund II of Abilene, Texas was disbarred Feb. 4 for failure to comply with rule 9.20 and to make restitution. He did not comply with terms of his disciplinary probation and failed to pay over $48,000 in restitution to nine clients. He was previously suspended for collecting an illegal fee and failure to Perform Legal Services with competence, render an accounting for advanced fees, return unearned fees, and obey a court order. He has been ordered to pay restitution plus interest.
- Jerome Donald Handley
Handley of San Jose was disbarred Feb. 4 for failure to pay restitution and comply with rule 9.20. He did not perform legal services with competence when he failed to file a petition for a probate matter for his client. He also failed to respond promptly to client inquiries, return his client’s papers and property, and return unearned fees. He failed to respond to a notice of disciplinary charges, resulting in disbarment. He is required to pay $1,000 plus interest in restitution.
- Walter Ryan Haybert
Haybert was disbarred Feb. 4 after being ineligible to practice law since last February for a misdemeanor conviction after violating a protective order. He had a restraining order requiring him to stay at least 100 feet from his ex-wife but he entered her home. She asked him to leave but he refused. He was found by police later on a hill about 80 feet from the house. He failed to respond to the disciplinary hearing.
- Charles Conrad Lobello
Lobello of Las Vegas was disbarred following his conviction for felony tax evasion. In 2006, Lobello knowlingly filed a false joint 1040 tax form for the year 2002. He claimed in the tax to only have a taxable income of $46,367 when his actual income was $375,957.He pleaded guilty to one count, when he was originally charged with five counts.
- Debra Rawls Pricola
Pricola of Ventura was disbarred after falsely reporting under penalty of perjury that she had completed her Minimum Continuing Legal Education requirements. Pricola had not fulfilled the requirements and did not cooperate with a disciplinary investigation.
- Robert G. Scurrah Jr.
Scurrah Jr. of Tustin failed to file a declaration of compliance with rule 9.20. Scurrah Jr. was suspended for collecting upfront fees in nine loan modification cases. He repeatedly violated a 2009 consumer protection law prohibiting advanced fees for the services.
- Thomas Scott Simons
Simons of Plano, Texas was disbarred for failing to comply with the terms of his disciplinary probation when he did not contact the Office of Probation within 30 days of his suspension to figure out the next steps. He was previously suspended for failing to file a declaration of compliance with rule 9.20 after an earlier suspension for engaging in unauthorized practices and acts of moral turpitude.
- Christopher John Van Son
Van Son of Oak View failed to file a declaration of compliance by the deadline. He was suspended in 2012 but cooperated with the State Bar. This time he was suspended for failing to submit quarterly reports to probation on time, take the MCLE or ethics classes.
- Rachelle Shalom Visconte
Visconte of Rancho Santa Margarita was disbarred based on two criminal convictions. She was convicted of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia and convicted of making/passing fictitious checks, burglary, possession of a completed check with intent to defraud and identity theft.
- Alexandra R. Epand
Epand of Charlotte, NC engaged in unauthorized practice of law in North Carolina where she was not licensed and accepting a $2,500 fee for services. She is ordered to pay $2,500 plus interest in restitution. She failed to appear at her trial for her discipline case, defaulting her disbarment.
- James Lyston Evertts
Evertts of Campbell misappropriated $425,000 of client’s funds and stopped working on the client’s trust matter. He failed to respond to status inquiries, take steps to avoid prejudice by the client, and keep a $530,034.97 balance for his client and respond to State Bar letters. Evertts also collected an illegal fee of $8,900 before a probate court order, improperly withdrew from employment, misappropriated $338.88 in client funds and failed to perform legal services with competence. He is ordered to pay restitution plus interest.
- Gerald William Filice
Filice of Sacramento was found to be culpable of misconduct in his third and fourth discipline cases within five years. A review panel noted that “given Filice’s discipline history and his repeated violations of disciplinary orders, the risk is high he will commit future misconduct.” He has failed to maintain client funds and violated the terms of his disciplinary probation by falling short of deadlines.
- Lawrence Allan Moy
Moy of Irvine was disbarred for misconduct in five personal injury cases. He has continually misappropriated client funds and lacked in communicated with clients.
- David Q. Meyer
Meyer of San Diego has been ordered to pay restitution for his role with Ford & Weinberg. He acted as the escrow agent for the escrow company, accepting escrow funds for the company into trust accounts. Meyer used a non-attorney employee of the company to guide the money transfers. He transferred the money without standby letters. He is ordered to pay a restitution of nearly $320,000 plus interest.
Why do you think attorneys fail to defend themselves and let their license status default? Tell us in the comments below.
To learn more about disbarred attorneys, read these articles:
- Disbarred Attorney Owes over $42 Million
- California Lawyer Disbarred for Misappropriating $65,000
- Salem Lawyer Disbarred over Financial Misconduct