Illinois Supreme Court Disbars 8, Suspends 12 in Latest Disciplinary Filing
The Illinois Supreme Court announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on May 21, 2019. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.
Gregory P. Allen, Palo Alto, California
Mr. Allen was licensed in Illinois in 1978 and in California in 1981. The Supreme Court of California disbarred him after finding that he had failed to comply with the conditions attached to a previous sanction order, by failing to complete continuing legal education classes, and to timely submit a final report in connection with the earlier disciplinary matter. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.
Richard Peter Caro, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
Mr. Caro is licensed in New York but was never licensed in Illinois. He was disbarred by the Supreme Court of Illinois for handling several Illinois legal matters and implicitly holding himself out as being authorized to provide legal services in connection with those matters, potentially harming his clients’ interests. He also sought to have his client execute an agreement that would have granted him an interest in his client’s business, without advising the client that he seek advice of independent counsel, and he did not reduce a contingent fee agreement to writing. Finally, he failed to cooperate with the ARDC investigation into his misconduct.
Jeffrey Wade Deer, Chicago
Mr. Deer, who was licensed in 1990, was disbarred on consent. He was convicted of forgery and subornation of perjury in the Circuit Court of Cook County after he created a false promissory note to support a purported $400,000 loan and procured a witness to testify falsely about the source of those funds, which were used to pay a cash bond in a criminal case. He was suspended on an interim basis on November 30, 2018.
Robert W. Gold-Smith, Justice
Mr. Gold-Smith, who was licensed in 2003, was disbarred on consent following his criminal convictions for the crimes of solicitation of murder for hire, aggravated battery, violation of an order of protection and communicating with a witness. He was suspended on an interim basis on September 9, 2016.
Christopher Lauren Graham, Dallas, Texas
Mr. Graham was licensed in Texas in 2005 and in Illinois in 2008. A district court in Texas disbarred him for submitting duplicative and excessive billing invoices to a Texas court for attorney’s fees as a court-appointed attorney and for filing a motion to recuse a judge that contained statements that were false, or that were made with reckless disregard to the statements’ truth or falsity, concerning the judge’s qualifications and integrity, after he had already been suspended and placed on probation and publicly reprimanded in connection with two other disciplinary cases. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.
David A. Schiller, Chicago
Mr. Schiller was licensed in Texas in 1995 and in Illinois in 2014. The Supreme Court of Texas accepted his resignation in lieu of discipline and disbarred him for neglecting personal injury matters, failing to keep clients reasonably informed about their case, misusing client funds, and failing to timely respond to Texas disciplinary authorities in connection with client matters, after he had already been suspended and placed on probation in connection with another disciplinary matter involving his neglect of a civil matter and failure to comply with his client’s requests for information and to keep the client reasonably informed about the status of her case. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.
Leicester Bryce Stovell, Washington, D.C.
Mr. Stovell was licensed in Illinois in 1984 and in the District of Columbia in 2004. The District of Columbia Court of Appeals disbarred him after he intentionally misappropriated about $1,000 of client funds and, in connection with four client matters, was incompetent, engaged in neglect, and failed to effectively communicate with a client and keep complete records of client funds. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.
Theodore Arthur Woerthwein, Chicago
Mr. Woerthwein, who was licensed in 1971, was disbarred. He misappropriated $237,000 in settlement funds that he was supposed to hold for clients in his trust account. He also failed to cooperate with the ARDC and failed to participate in his own disciplinary proceeding.
William Mack Anderson IV, Creve Coeur
Mr. Anderson, who was licensed in 1978, was suspended for thirty days. He engaged in a sexual relationship with a client after the client-lawyer relationship commenced. The suspension is effective on June 11, 2019.
Dennis Roy Atteberry, Taylorville
Mr. Atteberry, who was licensed in 2001, was suspended for sixty days. He filed a statement of candidacy in a primary election for the office of resident circuit judge for Shelby County in which he claimed a false residence address within the county in order to comply with the residency requirement for that judicial position. In fact, he did not reside in Shelby County and was ineligible for the office. The suspension is effective on June 11, 2019.
Doug Allen Bernacchi, Chicago
Mr. Bernacchi was licensed in Illinois and in Indiana in 1990. The Indiana Supreme Court suspended him for at least one year, without automatic reinstatement, for incompetently representing his client in connection with a child support matter, charging that client an unreasonable fee, improperly using and splitting his fee with a non-lawyer legal assistant, and attempting to obstruct the attorney disciplinary process. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him for one year and until further order of the Court.
Matthew Ryan Booker, Springfield
Mr. Booker, who was licensed in 2000, was suspended for three years and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed after eighteen months by a two-year term of conditional probation. He made misrepresentations to courts, clients, his law firm and others in regards to two different civil cases. The suspension is effective on June 11, 2019.
Paul Dee Boudreau, Yorkville
Mr. Boudreau, who was licensed in 1991, was suspended for ninety days and until he pays certain outstanding registration fees. Between 2009 and 2018, he was removed from the Master Roll of Attorneys authorized to practice law in Illinois based on his failure to register or pay the required registration fees, as well as for his failure to complete continuing minimum legal education requirements. During that period, he earned over $9,000 in attorney’s fees while purporting to represent clients in real estate matters. The suspension is effective on June 11, 2019.
Stephen John Dine, Chicago
Mr. Dine, who was licensed in 1994, was suspended thirty days for falsely notarizing a quitclaim deed and an affidavit. His actions put into question the legitimacy of the deed and, as a result, resulted in additional litigation for the involved parties. The suspension is effective on June 11, 2019.
Barry Michael Lewis, Chicago
Mr. Lewis, who was licensed in 1975, was suspended for five months. He fraudulently used his former domestic partner’s employer-provided health insurance benefits for a period of approximately eight years following the end of their domestic partnership. The suspension is effective on June 11, 2019.
James Richard Mayer, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Mr. Mayer was licensed in Minnesota in 2001 and in Illinois in 2003. The Minnesota Supreme Court suspended him indefinitely, with no right to petition for reinstatement, for eighteen months. He misappropriated $6,176.45 from a non-profit organization for which he had been acting as treasurer. The Illinois Supreme Court imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him for eighteen months. The suspension is effective on June 11, 2019.
Vincent DeMarti Porter*, Allen Park, Michigan
Mr. Porter, who was licensed in 2006, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. On January 18, 2019, the ARDC Hearing Board recommended that he be disbarred for assisting clients in fraudulent activity and misrepresenting an investment opportunity to prospective investors. He also committed the criminal act of misprision of a felony.
Cheryl Ann Powell, Mount Vernon
Ms. Powell, who was licensed in 1988, was suspended for one year and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed after sixty days by a two-year period of conditional probation. She improperly revealed client confidences when she disclosed, without authority, her client’s consideration of legal action involving the client’s son. She also failed to adequately communicate with the client and made inaccurate statements in connection with billing statements. In addition, she did not comply with discovery in another matter and did not adequately communicate with her client. In a third case, she failed to appear for her clients’ scheduled adoption proceeding. The suspension is effective on June 11, 2019.
William Albert Swafford, Chicago
Mr. Swafford was licensed in in Nevada in 2009 and in Illinois in 2012. The Nevada Supreme Court suspended him for six months and one day for knowingly assisting another attorney in representing two brothers with conflicting interests in a criminal matter, not communicating with his client and not appearing at hearings on his client’s behalf, permitting the other attorney to represent his client, making a misrepresentation to a judge about his appearance at a hearing, and for overdrawing his client trust account and failing to provide the Nevada State Bar with any substantive response regarding the overdraft. In addition, the Nevada Supreme Court issued another order in a separate disciplinary matter suspending him for another six months and one day and requiring him to participate in a fee dispute arbitration proceeding, obtain a fitness-for-duty evaluation prior to applying for reinstatement, and pay the State Bar of Nevada $2,500 plus costs, for not timely filing a pleading on behalf of a client and not communicating with the client, and for failing to deposit the client’s funds into a trust account or refund any unearned fees. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him for one year and until he is reinstated in Nevada. The suspension is effective on June 11, 2019.
Adam Samuel Tracy, Chicago
Mr. Tracy, who was licensed in 2005, was suspended for one year. While representing five separate clients in foreclosure, loan modification and/or bankruptcy matters, he neglected matters, did not keep clients informed about their cases, made misrepresentations to clients about the status of their cases, pursued frivolous pleadings, and did not withdraw his representation after being discharged by clients. The suspension is effective on June 11, 2019.
*The order was entered by the court before the May 2019 term, but not included in any prior release.