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

In the Matter of:

LAWRENCE MATTHEW HAWS,

Attorney-Respondent, 

No. 6276243.

 

Commission No. 2012PR00081

FILED - July 24, 2012

COMPLAINT

Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Sharon D. Opryszek, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 761(d), complains of Respondent Lawrence Matthew Haws, who was licensed to practice law in Illinois on December 4, 2001, and alleges that Respondent has engaged in the following conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute, and which subjects Respondent to discipline pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 770:

COUNT I
(Criminal Convictions-forgery and theft)

1. On January 19, 2012, as Ruth Cleverly sat reading at the Newton, Iowa, public library, Respondent stole Ms. Cleverly's purse, which contained her credit cards, cash and telephone.

2. Later in the day on January 19, 2012, Respondent used Ms. Cleverly's credit card on three occasions at the Newton Wal-Mart to purchase cigarettes, soda, American Express prepaid credit cards and a laptop computer. Each time, Respondent forged Ms. Cleverly's name on credit card receipts to purchase the items.

3. On January 20, 2012, Respondent returned to the same Wal-Mart and attempted to return the laptop computer, purchased with Ms. Cleverly's credit card on January 19, 2012, alleging that the computer was broken and attempting to get a refund. Wal-Mart loss prevention personnel identified Respondent as the individual who purchased the laptop computer on January 19, 2012. Wal-Mart personnel notified Newton police that Respondent had returned to the store.

4. When Newton police arrived at the Wal-Mart store, Respondent had already exited the store. Newton police officers tracked Respondent for at least twenty minutes, in the snow and through timber, until Respondent was apprehended and arrested.

5. At all time alleged in this complaint, there was in effect a criminal statute in Iowa, I.C.A. sec. 7.15A.2, which provided that a person who, with the intent to defraud or injure anyone, or with knowledge that the person is facilitating a fraud or injury to be perpetrated by anyone, utters a writing which the person knows to be forged in a manner such that he makes, completes, executes, authenticates, issues or transfers a writing so that it purports to be the act of another who did not authorize that act, commits forgery.

6. At all time alleged in this complaint, there was in effect a criminal statute in Iowa, I.C.A. sec. 7.14.1, which provided that a person who takes possession or control of the property of another with the intent to deprive the other thereof, commits theft. Further, I.C.A. sec.  7.14.2, defined the theft of property not exceeding two hundred dollars in value as theft in the 5th degree.

7. On January 20, 2012, Respondent was charged with three counts of Forgery (a class D felony) in violation of Iowa Code Section 715A.2 and one count of Theft 5th (a simple misdemeanor) in violation of Iowa Code 714.1.

8. On January 25, 2012, Jasper County Attorney Michael K. Jacobsen filed a three- count trial information in the Iowa District Court for Jasper County charging Respondent with felony forgery. The matter was docketed as State of Iowa v. Lawrence Matthew Haws, Docket No. FECR016480. A copy of the information is attached as Exhibit One.

9. The information, described in paragraph eight above, charged that on or about January 19, 2012, Respondent committed forgery in that he directly and fraudulently used or uttered a writing, to-wit: completed a credit card transaction, knowing that said writing was forged by completing said transaction to be the act of another without their permission, in violation of Iowa Code Sections 715A.2(1), 715A.2(1)(c), 715A.2(2)(A).

10. On January 23, 2012, a one-count complaint charging Respondent with misdemeanor theft in the 5th degree was filed in the Iowa District Court for Jasper County. The matter was docketed as State of Iowa vs. Lawrence Matthew Haws, Docket No. SMAC010900. A copy of the complaint is attached as Exhibit Two.

11. On February 1, 2012, Respondent pleaded guilty to one count of Forgery and was sentenced to a five years in the Iowa Department of Correction with the sentence suspended by a two year period of probation with the condition that Respondent makes restitution on all three forgery counts, pays a fine of $750 and court costs in Docket No. FECR016480.

12. On February 1, 2012, Respondent pleaded guilty to one count of Theft 5th and was ordered to pay a fine of $65 and court costs in Docket No. SMAC010900.

13. By reason of the conduct described above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. committing criminal acts that reflects adversely on his honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, in violation of Rule 8.4(b) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010), by committing the criminal offense of forgery in violation of Iowa Criminal Statute I.C.A. sec. 7.15A. and the offense of theft in violation of Iowa Criminal Statute I.C.A. sec. 7.14.1;

  2. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010);

  3. conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice, in violation of Rule 8.4(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010); and

  4. conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute.

COUNT II
(Failure to notify the Administrator of criminal convictions)

14. The Administrator repeats and realleges paragraphs 1-12 of Count I.

15. At all times alleged in this complaint, Illinois Supreme Court Rule 761(a) required that an attorney admitted in this State who is convicted in any court of a felony or misdemeanor notify the Administrator of the conviction in writing with 30 days of the entry of the judgment of conviction.

16. Pursuant to Iowa Code Section 715A.2, a forgery conviction is a Class D felony.

17. Pursuant to Iowa Code Section 714.2, a theft in the 5th degree is a simple misdemeanor.

18. Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 761(a), Respondent was required to notify the Administrator of his felony and misdemeanor convictions set forth in Count I above on or before March 1, 2012.

19. As of the filing of this complaint, Respondent had not notified the Administrator of his convictions in case numbers FECR016480 and SMAC010900, as required by Supreme Court Rule 761(a).

20. As a result of the conduct described above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. failing to notify the Administrator of his conviction in writing within 30 days after the entry of the judgment of conviction in violation of Supreme Court Rule 761(a) and

  2. conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, in violation of Rule 8.4(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010).

WHEREFORE, the Administrator requests that this matter be assigned to a panel of the Hearing Board, that a hearing be held pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 761, and that the panel make findings of fact, conclusions of fact and law, and a recommendation for such discipline as is warranted.

Sharon D. Opryszek
Counsel for the Administrator
One Prudential Plaza
130 East Randolph Drive, Suite 1500
Chicago, Illinois 60601-6219
Telephone: (312) 565-2600
Respectfully submitted,

Jerome Larkin, Administrator
Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission

By: Sharon D. Opryszek