BEFORE THE HEARING BOARD
OF THE
ILLINOIS ATTORNEY REGISTRATION
AND
DISCIPLINARY COMMISSION

In the Matter of:

LAWRENCE EDWARD BROMDEN,

Attorney-Respondent, 

No. 6271014.

 

Commission No. 07 CH 51

FILED - June 6, 2007

COMPLAINT

Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Albert S. Krawczyk, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753(b), complains of Respondent, Lawrence Edward Bromden, who was licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois on January 4, 2000, and alleges that Respondent has engaged in the following conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice and to bring the courts and legal profession into disrepute:

COUNT I
(Unauthorized Use of Law Firm Credit Card)

1. From about September 2005 until December 30, 2005, Respondent was employed as an associate attorney with the law firm of James A. Young & Associates, Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "the firm"), located in Elgin, Illinois.

2. From December 24, 2005 through December 30, 2005, attorney James A. Young (hereinafter referred to as "Young"), the principal of the firm, was on vacation in Arizona.

3. In 2005 and 2006, and at other times, Young maintained a MasterCard credit card account with Fifth Third Bank ending in the numbers 1883. The credit card account (hereinafter referred to as "Young's MasterCard account") was primarily used by Young and the firm to pay filing fees in bankruptcy matters and for other business purposes related to the firm.

4. In or before December 2005, Respondent had access to the account title, number and other information related to Young's MasterCard account by virtue of having received an enlarged copy of the credit card in connection with the account, from, or with the authorization of, Young.

5. At all times alleged in this complaint, Respondent, as an associate with the firm, was only authorized to use Young's MasterCard account for legitimate business expenses relating to the firm or its clients.

6. On December 28, 2005, Respondent, without Young's knowledge or consent, used Young's MasterCard account to purchase three pieces of framed artwork, described as "Paris," "London" and "Manhattan," from Art.com. The total charged on the account was $348.48.

7. On the morning of December 30, 2005, Respondent, in a telephone conversation from Arizona with Young, complained about Young's handling of a client matter, and Young terminated Respondent as an associate attorney with the firm.

8. On December 30, 2005, Respondent, without Young's knowledge or consent, used Young's MasterCard account to purchase one or more items of merchandise from Target.com. The total charged on the account was $361.22.

9. On January 3, 2006, Respondent, without Young's knowledge or consent, used Young's MasterCard account to purchase two pieces of framed artwork, described as "Clipper" and "Ete Hiver Chamonix Mont-Blanc," from Art.com. The total charged on the account was $291.40.

10. On January 4, 2006, Respondent, without Young's knowledge or authorization, used Young's MasterCard account to purchase items described as a "JWIN table-top radio," a "Lady of Justice statue," a "medium black hipster coat" and a "Fisher slim stereo," from Heartland America. The total charged on the account was $283.90.

11. On January 5, 2006, Respondent, without Young's knowledge or consent, used Young's MasterCard account to purchase one or more items of merchandise from Target.com. The total charged on the account was $344.23.

12. The goods purchased by Respondent with Young's MasterCard account as described in paragraphs six, eight, nine, ten and eleven, above, were not legitimate business expenses related to the firm or its clients, and, at no time did Respondent have permission or authority to purchase the goods by using Young's MasterCard account.

13. As a result of the above acts, on May 16, 2006, Respondent was charged in a criminal complaint, and, on August 29, 2006, an indictment was returned against Respondent, in the Circuit Court for the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit, Kane County, Illinois, charging him with the unlawful use of credit card, a Class 3 felony, in violation of Chapter 720, Section 250/8, of the Illinois Compiled Statutes. The matter was docketed as The People of the State of Illinois vs. Lawrence E. Bromden, case number 06 CF 1307.

14. On or about February 13, 2007, Respondent was accepted into the Second Chance Program of the Kane County State's Attorney's Office ("hereinafter referred to as the "Second Chance Program." At that time, Respondent acknowledged that he used Young's MasterCard account, without the consent of the card holder and with the intent to defraud MasterCard, for the purposes of obtaining goods having a total value in excess of $300.

15. On February 13, 2007, Respondent entered into a written agreement with the Kane County State's Attorney's Office in connection with case number 06 CF 13076, whereby Respondent agreed to be placed on the Second Chance Program for a period of twelve months, and, among things, to contribute 130 hours of community service, pay a program fee of $810, pay $1,001.10 in restitution to Fifth Third Bank and obtain anger management counseling. Pursuant to the agreement, the Kane County State's Attorney's Office agreed to dismiss the charge pending against Respondent if he completes all of the conditions and terms of the agreement.

16. On February 13, 2007, the court in case number 06 CF 13076, pursuant to Respondent's written agreement with the Kane County State's Attorney's Office, entered an order continuing the matter to February 13, 2008.

17. By reason of the conduct outlined above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. committing criminal acts that reflect adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, in violation of Chapter 720, Act 5, Section 250/8, of the Illinois Compiled Statutes, as amended, and Rule 8.4(a)(3) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

  2. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(4) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

  3. conduct which tends to bring the legal profession into disrepute in violation of Supreme Court Rule 770.

COUNT II
(Threatening Disciplinary Charges)

1-2. The Administrator realleges paragraphs one and two of Count I.

3. In 2005, and at other times, Young maintained account number 7512389052 at Fifth Third Bank. Account number 7512389052 (hereinafter referred to as "Young's general office account") was entitled "James A. Young & Associates, Ltd." and was used by Young as a depository of funds for personal or business purposes.

4. On or before December 30, 2005, Respondent obtained check number 5200 on Young's general office account. Check number 5200 was dated December 30, 2005, and was made payable to "Lawrence Bromden" in the amount of $10,000.

5. On or before December 30, 2005, Respondent endorsed the back of check number 5200 and, on December 30, 2005, Respondent caused the check to be deposited into account number 7233021570 at Fifth Third Bank. Account number 7233021570 was entitled "Lawrence E. Bromden" and was used by Respondent as a depository of funds for personal purposes.

6. On the morning of December 30, 2005, Respondent, in a telephone conversation from Arizona with Young, complained about Young's handling of a client matter, and Young terminated Respondent as an associate attorney with the firm.

7. On January 3, 2006, Young contacted Fifth Third Bank to dispute payment of check number 5200.

8. On January 3, 2006 and January 4, 2006, Young left messages for Respondent on Respondent's cell phone requesting the return of the $10,000 that Respondent had received from the proceeds of check number 5200.

9. On January 5, 2006, Young received a text message from Respondent, as follows: "We're now settled. Otherwise, I'll tie you up in Court on fraud & malpractice charges, & report you to the ARDC. Your S-Corp. is dissolved . . . . dumbass!"

10. By reason of the conduct outlined above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. threatening to present professional disciplinary actions to obtain an advantage in a civil matter in violation of Rule 1.2(e) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

  2. conduct which is prejudicial to or tends to defeat the administration justice and tends to bring the legal profession into disrepute in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(5) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct and Supreme Court Rule 770.

WHEREFORE, the Administrator requests that a hearing be conducted before a panel of the Hearing Board, and that the panel make findings of fact, conclusions of facts and law, and a recommendation for such discipline as is warranted.

Albert S. Krawczyk
Counsel for the Administrator
One Prudential Plaza
130 East Randolph Drive, #1500
Chicago, Illinois 60601
Telephone: (312) 565-2600
Facsimile: (312) 565-2320
Respectfully submitted,

Jerome Larkin, Administrator
Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission

By:  Albert S. Krawczyk