Illinois Supreme Court disbars 5, suspends 11 in latest disciplinary filing
The Supreme Court of Illinois announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on March 12, 2015, during the March Term of Court. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.
- Lawrence Joseph Fleming, St. Louis, Mo.
Mr. Fleming was licensed in Missouri in 1967 and in Illinois in 1968. He was disbarred by the Supreme Court of Missouri for failing to timely file appearances, briefs, writs and responses to motions, making misrepresentations to clients and to disciplinary officials, collecting unreasonable fees and failing to deposit funds into a trust account. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.
- Warren Jan Gladders, St. Louis, Mo.
Mr. Gladders, who was licensed in 1977, was disbarred on consent. He pled guilty to federal charges of armed bank robbery. He robbed three different Missouri banks by threatening bank employees with a revolver and demanding money while wearing a scarf and sunglasses over his face. Following his third robbery, he exchanged gunfire with a Missouri State Highway Patrol officer. Mr. Gladders was sentenced to serve 24 years and five months in prison.
- Mark Allen Hopkins, Chicago
Mr. Hopkins, who was licensed in 2004, was disbarred on consent. He was convicted in federal court of conspiracy to commit crimes involving money laundering. He engaged in a scheme with two other individuals to conduct financial transactions using his client trust account to launder a total of approximately $3,100,000. He was sentenced to a 22-month prison term.
- Joseph Charles Owens, Glen Ellyn
Mr. Owens, who was licensed in 1944, was disbarred and was ordered to pay certain restitution. He took excessive fees from a decedent’s trust for which he served as both trustee and attorney.
- Elizabeth Rose Wagenaar, Chicago
Ms. Wagenaar, who was licensed in 2007, was disbarred on consent. She failed to diligently handle client matters, made misrepresentations to her clients and her firm employer about the status of client matters, fabricated court orders and pleadings and falsified time records.
- Robert Bless, Arlington Heights
Mr. Bless, who was licensed in 2004, was suspended for three years and until further order of the Court. While representing a young widow with two small children in a wrongful death action, he engaged in an intimate relationship with the client. He also borrowed more than $200,000 from the client and advised her to lie about their personal relationship at her deposition in the wrongful death action. He also made a false statement to the ARDC and testified falsely at his disciplinary proceeding. He was suspended on an interim basis on June 17, 2014.
- Phillip Wililam Collins II, Chicago
Mr. Collins, who was licensed in Illinois in 1990, was suspended in 2013 for sixty days and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed in its entirety by a three-year period of conditional probation. He failed to communicate with a client or take any action to resolve a title dispute matter related to the client’s purchase of an automobile. He also neglected another client’s employment discrimination matter, resulting in her state and federal claims becoming time-barred. Finally, a check that he gave to the client in the employment matter for the refund of unearned legal fees was twice returned for insufficient funds. Because he failed to comply with all of the terms of his conditional probation, the probation was revoked and he was suspended for sixty days and until further order of the Court. (Order entered on February 3, 2015)
- Alfred Stanley Dynia, Chicago
Mr. Dynia, who was licensed in 2005, was suspended for five months, with the suspension stayed after thirty days by a one-year period of conditional probation. He mismanaged certain real estate escrow monies that he was supposed to hold in his client trust account. The suspension is effective on April 2, 2015.
- Charles William Helmig, Peru
Mr. Helmig, who was licensed in 1964, was suspended for three years and until further order of the Court. Without authorization, he used more than $82,000 belonging to an elderly, infirm client. He also failed to participate and comply with an order in an administrative proceeding regarding the client’s delinquent balance for nursing home care.
- Steven Richard Kathe, Palatine
Mr. Kathe, who was licensed in 1992, was suspended for 60 days. He neglected a collection matter and a probate matter for a client and, over the course of two years, misled the client and law firm supervisor about the status of the matters. The suspension is effective on April 2, 2015.
- Jeffrey Dale Lange, Chicago
Mr. Lange was licensed in 1996 and was suspended for one year and until further order of Court in 2009. Discipline was imposed after he pled guilty to two separate offenses of driving under the influence of alcohol and a third offense of trespass and criminal damage to property, which was alcohol-related. In 2012, he filed a petition for reinstatement and, after a hearing, he was reinstated with conditions. Because he failed to comply with all terms of his reinstatement conditions, he was suspended until further order of the Court. (Order entered on March 4, 2015)
- Deeba Khursheed Mallick, Arlington, Va.
Ms. Mallick, who was licensed in 2006, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. She pled guilty to a federal charge of misprison of felony. In her plea agreement, she admitted that, while holding various roles at Gallant Pharma International, Inc., including office manager, she identified prospective customers for misbranded, non-FDA approved drugs and arranged for the importation and distribution of those drugs. The imported drugs included injectable chemotherapeutic agents, injectable cosmetic fillers, and injectable agents used to treat side effects of chemotherapy, many of which were subject to federally mandated strict temperature controls which were not complied with by Gallant. She was sentenced to a nine-month prison term. (Order entered on February 27, 2015)
- Sam Edward Poston, St. Louis. Mo
Mr. Poston was licensed in Missouri in 1992 and in Illinois in 1995. He was suspended by the Supreme Court of Missouri for six months, with the suspension stayed in its entirety by a two-year period of conditional probation. He practiced law in Missouri while his license was not in good standing for failure to pay his registration fees and for failure to complete Missouri’s continuing legal education requirements. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him for six months, with the suspension stayed in its entirety by a two-year period of conditional probation, deemed satisfied.
- Lee Mark Smolen, Chicago
Mr. Smolen, who was licensed to practice law in Illinois in 1985, was suspended for one year and until he demonstrates that he successfully completed 12 months of psychiatric treatment. He obtained approximately $70,000 from a law firm in which he was then a partner by requesting reimbursement for more than 800 cab rides he did not actually take. He created and submitted fabricated receipts in support of those requests.
- Michael Edward Sweeney, Chicago
Mr. Sweeney, who was licensed in 1990, was suspended for four months, with the suspension stayed in its entirety by a one-year period of conditional probation. He mismanaged $42,720.55 in client funds and failed to safeguard two other clients’ funds by holding their settlement checks in a desk drawer.
- Joseph Michael Williams, Winfield
Mr. Williams, who was licensed in 1981, was suspended for six months and until further order of the Court. He failed to cooperate with the ARDC and did not maintain complete records of his client trust accounts as required by Illinois Supreme Court rules.
- Wasleed Ghuneim, Arlington Heights
Mr. Ghuneim, who was licensed in 2013, was censured and ordered to complete the ARDC Professionalism Seminar. He neglected a client’s dissolution of marriage case and was not candid to his client about the status of the matter.
Transferred to Disability Inactive Status: John Timothy Loats, Aurora