05
Jul
12

Mortgage fraud convictions result in disbarment

An attorney that was found guilty of participating in a mortgage fraud scheme was disbarred by the Supreme Court.  While the result was not surprising, the opinion is valuable in that the Court discussed various mitigating and aggravating factors while evaluating whether the criminal conviction should result in  disbarment.

Mitigating and Aggravating Circumstances Are an Important Part of a Bar Defense

Among the factors favoring leniency were a lack of disciplinary history, good character and reputation (evidenced by various letters and character references), the wrongdoing was an isolated incident, he cooperated with the bar, he was involved in mentoring young people and lawyers, and he showed remorse.  

Aggravating factors included selfish motive, wrong doing in the practice of law, wrong doing directed at a client, and experience in the practice of law.

The opinion supports focusing argument that addresses the factors recognized by the Supreme Court in mitigation and aggravation of penalties.  Although felony convictions arising out of the practice of law are tough to overcome, this is an important strategy in closer cases.

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