Illinois Supreme Court disbars 4, suspends 18 in latest disciplinary filing
The Supreme Court of Illinois has announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders entered yesterday, during the September 2012 Term of Court. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law. All information is provided by the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.
- Dumitry Razvan Ancuta, Chicago
Mr. Ancuta, who was licensed in 2006, was disbarred. When he applied for admission to the Illinois bar, he did not disclose in his application the existence of a civil fraud complaint that had been filed against him. He failed to cooperate with the disciplinary investigation and did not appear at his disciplinary hearing.
- John Devin Cashman, Quincy
Mr. Cashman, who was licensed in 1984, was disbarred on consent. He misappropriated funds from three clients, including the executors of two probate estates. He also presented a report to a court in one of the probate matters where he falsely stated that estate assets had been distributed to persons entitled to receive them under the decedent’s will.
- Sean Michael Malatesta, South Pasadena, Calif.
Mr. Malatesta, who was licensed in 1998, was disbarred on consent. He was found guilty in California of attempted unlawful intercourse with a minor and was sentenced to two days in Los Angeles County jail, with credit for time served, a period of probation for two years, and 100 hours of community service. He failed to report the conviction to the ARDC.
- Charles Gregory Murphy, Chicago
Mr. Murphy, who was licensed in 1974, was disbarred on consent. He was convicted in federal court of mail and wire fraud. He participated in a scheme wherein he and others fraudulently obtained mortgage loan proceeds by inflating the value of several residential properties, arranging sham real estate transactions, providing false and incomplete information to mortgage lenders and prospective purchasers, and using interstate wire and courier communication in furtherance of the scheme.
- Scott David Beal, Chicago
Mr. Beal, who was licensed in Illinois in 1998, was suspended for two years and until further order of the Court. He neglected five client matters after he moved out of Illinois. He also settled two client matters without client approval. He did not appear at his disciplinary hearing.
- Daniel Earl Brown, Bloomingdale
Mr. Brown, who was licensed in Illinois in 1996, was suspended for two years and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed in its entirety by a two-year period of conditional probation. He neglected two divorce cases and two driver’s license reinstatement cases andfailed to promptly refund $5,850 in unearned fees in those matters.
- Roger L. Brown, Calumet City
Mr. Brown, who was licensed in 1985, was suspended for nine months, with the suspension stayed after three months by a one-year term of conditional probation. He commingled client funds with his own and provided clients with prohibited financial assistance in several personal injury matters. The suspension is effective on October 8, 2012.
- John Farano, Jr., Palos Hills
Mr. Farano, who was licensed in 1989, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. 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.
- Lawrence Joseph Hess, East St. Louis
Mr. Hess, who was licensed in 1991, was suspended for six months. He participated in frivolous and vexatious litigation against some of his former clients in an effort to gain an advantage in his dispute with his former law firm. The suspension is effective on October 8, 2012.
- Danny Ray Hill, South Bend, Ind.
Mr. Hill, who was licensed in 1973, was suspended for three years and until further order of the Court. He engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in connection with his review of over 100 living trust matters after he failed to register in Illinois and after he had been suspended from the practice of law in Indiana for failing to cooperate with Indiana attorney disciplinary authorities. He had also been suspended in this state on a reciprocal basis.
- Peter Chris Kalagis, Gurnee
Mr. Kalagis, who was licensed in 1995, was suspended on May 18, 2011, for one year, with all but the first sixty days stayed by probation, subject to conditions. He failed to properly preserve the identity of $13,185.44 in funds due clients or third persons. Because he failed to comply with several of the conditions of his probation, the probation was revoked, the stay of his suspension was vacated, and he was suspended for the remaining ten months of his suspension.
- Mark Allen Larson, Chicago
Mr. Larson, who was licensed in 2006, was suspended for one year and until further order of the Court. He neglected an immigration claim and a civil litigation matter, failed to cooperate with the disciplinary investigation into both matters,and attempted to limit another client’s right to pursue disciplinary action against him in connection with a bankruptcy.
- Dorothy Jean Mitchell, Zion
Ms. Mitchell, who was licensed in Illinois in 1985, was suspended for 90 days. She mismanaged $1,380 that she had agreed to hold in escrow in relation to a client’s real estate transaction. The suspension is effective on October 8, 2012.
- Peter Burritt Nolte, Rockford
Mr. Nolte, who was licensed in Illinois in 1974, was suspended for one year and until further order of the Court. He neglected a medical malpractice case and made misrepresentations to his client about the true status of the case. He also failed to cooperate with the ARDC investigation and did not appear at his disciplinary hearing.
- Nicholas Anthony Pavich, Chicago
Mr. Pavich, who was licensed in 1999, was suspended for one year and until further order of the Court. He neglected a couple’s breach of contract claim, falsely told the clients that the claim had settled, and attempted to limit his own liability to them in connection with their claim.He did not appear at his disciplinary hearing.
- Alexander Pechenik, Matteson
Mr. Pechenik, who was licensed in 2005, was suspended for two years and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed after sixty days by a two-year period of probation with conditions. He neglected four different civil matters: a veterinary malpractice claim, a breach of contract claim, a property damage case, and an eviction matter. The suspension is effective on October 8, 2012.
- Jacob Reiss, Niles
Mr. Reiss, who was licensed in 1973, was suspended for six months and until further order of the Court. He neglected two civil matters, misrepresented the status of those matters to his clients, and then provided one client with fictitious settlement payments totaling $5,000.
- Rex Lindsey Reu, Bloomington
Mr. Reu, who was licensed in Illinois in 1978, was suspended for one year. He neglected a client's child support matter, repeatedly lied to his client about the status of the case, and falsely told a judge and his opposing party that his client was responsible for the delays instead of him. Mr. Reu failed to inform his client that the client was the subject of a contempt proceeding that eventually resulted in the client's arrest. The suspension is effective on October 8, 2012.
- Shaveda Monique Scott, Crete
Ms. Scott, who was licensed in 2001, was suspended for 30 days. She failed to properly disclose her financial interest as an agent for a title company in six different real estate transactions and she improperly represented both the seller and the buyer in four of those transactions. The suspension is effective on October 8, 2012.
- Timothy John Stock, Sacramento, Calif.
Mr. Stock, who was licensed in 1974, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. He was convicted in California state court of unlawfully possessing marijuana for the purpose of sale, a felony. Specifically, he agreed to lease an 18,000 square-foot warehouse in Sacramento, California, to people who he knew intended to use the warehouse to cultivate marijuana for distribution. He agreed to be paid a fee for acting as a front for the illegal activities.
- Vincent Louis Trunda, Cicero
Mr. Trunda, who was licensed in 1981, was suspended for two years. He drafted a testamentary document in which both he and his mother were named as beneficiaries. Also, after the death of the client, he took no action to open a probate estate and, instead, disbursed the estate assets with no court supervision. The suspension is effective on October 8, 2012.
- Brent Allan Winters, Casey
Mr. Winters, who was licensed in 1997, was suspended for two years. A federal jury found him guilty of filing a false tax return. During 1998, while running for a seat in the United States House of Representatives, he loaned his own election campaign fund $36,616.50 and, after he was defeated, transferred the debt to a company for $2,500 in order to falsely claim a loss on his 1998 federal income tax return. The suspension is effective on October 8, 2012. He was suspended on an interim basis on November 24, 2010.
- Elizabeth Jane Barringer, St. Louis, Mo.
Ms. Barringer, who was licensed to practice in 2007, was censured and ordered to successfully complete the ARDC Professionalism Seminar. She communicated on an ex parte basis with an arbitrator assigned to hear her client’s workers’ compensation case.
- Regan D. Ebert, Chicago
Ms. Ebert, who was licensed in 1979, was censured. She altered a discovery order in a civil case.
- Kyle Matthew Kinzy, Buffalo Grove
Mr. Kinzy, who was licensed in 1996, was censured. He neglected an immigration matter which resulted in the entry of a deportation order against his client. He neglected an unrelated immigration matter when he submitted his client’s immigration petitions without the proper filing fees and failed to correct the error or refund his unearned fees.
- Glen Robert Weber, Rockford
Mr. Weber, who was licensed in Illinois in 1987, was censured. While serving as an Assistant State’s Attorney in Winnebago County, and again as the State’s Attorney of Jo Daviess County, he made improper statements to juries in five criminal cases by alluding to matters he did not reasonably believe to be true and by making prejudicial statements about defendants. Of the five cases in question, one was reversed on appeal, with the appellate court finding that the improper statements deprived the defendant of a fair trial.
- John R. Weinberger, Evanston
Mr. Weinberger, who was licensed in Illinois in 1994, was censured and required to attend the ARDC Professionalism Seminar. He neglected a breach of contract action, resulting in its dismissal, and did not communicate with his client about the case. He also attempted to make an agreement with the same client wherein he would refund a portion of the legal fees he received in exchange for a release from any malpractice liability, without advising his client to consult with independent counsel.