Filed December 30, 2010

In re Charles Augustus Conner, Jr.
Respondent-Appellant

Commission No. 08 CH 119

Synopsis of Review Board Report and Recommendation
(December 2010)

The Administrator charged Conner with eleven counts of converting client funds and two counts of submitting false information to the Administrator in connection with investigations of Conner's conduct.

The Hearing Board found that Conner committed all of the charged misconduct, which included intentionally converting approximately $138,000 from numerous clients and submitting falsified bank statements to the Administrator. The Hearing Board recommended that Conner be disbarred.

Conner filed exceptions to the Hearing Board Report and Recommendation. He argued that the Hearing Board committed the following procedural and evidentiary errors: allowing the Administrator to amend the complaint on the day of the hearing, admitting evidence of additional uncharged misconduct as a factor in aggravation, and admitting evidence related to a prior disciplinary proceeding that did not result in any findings of misconduct. Conner further argued that his misconduct warrants a suspension rather than disbarment.

The Review Board found no abuse of discretion with respect to any of the challenged rulings. Because of Conner's lengthy pattern of intentional and dishonest conversion, his fraudulent attempts to deceive the Administrator, and the harm he caused to his clients and the disciplinary process, the Review Board recommended that Conner be disbarred.

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

In the Matter of:

CHARLES AUGUSTUS CONNER, JR.,

Respondent-Appellant,

No. 6197148.

Commission No. 08 CH 119

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE REVIEW BOARD

This matter comes before the Review Board on the exceptions of the Respondent-Appellant, Charles Augustus Conner, Jr., who was charged with eleven counts of converting client funds and two counts of submitting false information to the Administrator in connection with investigations of the Respondent's conduct. In his answer, the Respondent admitted the factual allegations pertaining to the conversions and the submission of false information but denied that he committed misconduct.

The Hearing Board found that the Adminsitrator-Appellee proved that the Respondent committed all of the charged misconduct, which included conversion (eleven counts); conduct involving dishonesty, deceit, fraud, or misrepresentation, in violation of Illinois Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4(a)(4) (thirteen counts); making statements of material fact known by the lawyer to be false in connection with a lawyer disciplinary matter, in violation of Rule 8.1(a)(1) (two counts); and conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice and that tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute, in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(5) and Supreme Court Rule 770 (thirteen counts). The Hearing Board recommended that the Respondent be disbarred.

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The Respondent contends that the Hearing Board made procedural and evidentiary errors and that a three-year suspension is an appropriate sanction. The Administrator asks us to affirm the Hearing Board's findings and to adopt its recommendation of disbarment.

The Respondent received his Illinois license to practice law in 1987. Since 1989 he has been a sole practitioner with a general practice that includes personal injury matters. The Respondent's first wife died in 1997 and his second wife died in 2002. Since the death of his second wife, the Respondent has raised his two children by himself.

The Respondent maintained a client trust account at Cole Taylor Bank in which he deposited funds that he received on behalf of clients and third parties. The Administrator submitted bank statements showing that on numerous occasions between September 24, 2004, and February 29, 2008, the client trust account was overdrawn or did not contain all of the funds that the Respondent was required to hold or disburse. During this time period, the Respondent withdrew from the client trust account approximately $138,000 belonging to 37 different clients and/or their creditors.

The Respondent admitted that he sometimes wrote checks to himself and his law office from his client trust account to pay his own business or personal expenses. The Respondent testified that prior to 2009 he was not aware that it was an ethical violation for the balance of his client trust account to fall below the amount he owed to clients and third parties. He believed that he was permitted to write a check from the client trust account to his law firm as long as the clients and third parties were paid. He occasionally deposited his own funds into the client trust account to "clear up the negative balance from overdrafts." The Respondent admitted that he did not pay much attention to his bank statements and attributed his lack of diligence to the difficulties in his personal life.

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On December 14, 2004, the Administrator sent the Respondent a letter asking for information about his representation of Linda Geddes-Smith. The Respondent admitted that at the time he received the letter he knew that he had used settlement funds belonging to Ms. Geddes-Smith without her authority. The Respondent altered the September and October 2004 bank statements for his client trust account to show positive balances even though the account was overdrawn on several dates during those months. The Respondent admitted that he created the altered documents to conceal the negative balances from the Administrator. He submitted the falsified bank statements to the Administrator on December 20, 2004. The Administrator closed its investigation of the Geddes-Smith matter based, at least in part, on the false information that the Respondent submitted.

On December 7, 2007, the Administrator sent the Respondent a letter requesting information about his representation of Sereda Johnson. The Respondent had received $16,012.94 in settlement funds that belonged to Ms. Johnson or her creditors. Before he had disbursed the settlement funds, the client trust account became overdrawn. The Respondent altered his bank statements for May 2007 through November 2007 to show positive balances and submitted the altered statements to the Administrator on December 19, 2007. The Respondent subsequently altered the December 2007 and January 2008 bank statements and submitted them to the Administrator on January 10, 2008, and February 11, 2008, respectively. The Respondent admitted that he knew that his actual statements would show that the client trust account was overdrawn and that he wanted to avoid the Administrator taking action against him.

EVIDENCE IN AGGRAVATION

The Respondent testified that he did not recall whether his client trust account was overdrawn at any time in 2008 or 2009. The Administrator submitted copies of bank

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statements indicating that the client trust account had negative balances in May, June, and October 2008 and on May 18, 2009.

EVIDENCE IN MITIGATION

The Respondent has no prior discipline. He estimated that he spends ten to eighteen percent of his time on pro bono work. He acknowledged that his conduct was "deplorable" and violated the public trust.

Father George Clements, former pastor of Holy Angels Catholic Church, testified that the Respondent is actively involved in the church and has a very high reputation within the church community. For about twenty years, Father Clements has referred people who need legal assistance to the Respondent. Father Clements did not know the details of the charges at issue and was not aware that they involved misusing client funds and falsifying bank records. Father Clements stated that his opinion of the Respondent would change if the charges were proven.

Eva Adams, a former registered nurse, testified by evidence deposition that she has known the Respondent socially for twelve or thirteen years. The Respondent has been a good role model for her son. He also represented her son when he got into trouble, and Ms. Adams was pleased with the Respondent's representation. Ms. Adams believed that other attorneys have high regard for the Respondent. Without knowing the details of the charges against the Respondent, she could not say whether her opinion of him would change if he were found to have committed misconduct.

ANALYSIS

The Respondent asserts that the Hearing Board Chair committed procedural and evidentiary errors during his hearing. We review these issues under an abuse of discretion standard. See Lee v. Chicago Transit Authority, 152 Ill.2d 432, 467, 605 N.E.2d 493 (1992) (the

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decision on a motion for leave to amend the complaint is reviewed under an abuse of discretion standard); In re Blank, 145 Ill.2d 534, 553-554, 585 N.E.2d 105 (1992) (the Hearing Board's evidentiary rulings will not be disturbed absent an abuse of discretion). For the reasons that follow, we determine that the Hearing Board Chair did not abuse his discretion.

The Respondent contends, without any citation to authority, that the Hearing Board Chair's decision to allow the Administrator to amend the complaint on the day of the hearing violated the Respondent's due process rights. The record reveals that, with respect to paragraph 43 of Count VII, the Administrator requested leave to amend three dates on which the Respondent deposited funds belonging to Sereda Johnson, Denise Kidd, and Shakyra Hunter into his client trust account. The purpose of the amendment was to conform the pleading to the dates indicated on the Respondent's bank statements.

The Administrator also sought to amend paragraph 74 of Count XII to correct two dates between which the Respondent allegedly converted funds belonging to ten clients. Again, the amendment was necessary to conform the pleadings to the Respondent's bank statements.

Disciplinary proceedings are conducted in accordance with the Code of Civil Procedure (Code). Supreme Court Rule 753(c)(5). Pursuant to section 2-616(c) of the Code (735 ILCS 5/2-616(c)), "a pleading may be amended at any time, before or after judgment, to conform the pleadings to the proofs, upon terms as to costs and continuances that may be just." Relevant factors when considering whether to allow an amendment include (1) whether the proposed amendment would cure the defective pleading; (2) whether the proposed amendment would cause prejudice or surprise to other parties; (3) whether the proposed amendment was timely; and (4) whether previous opportunities to amend the pleading could be identified. Loyola

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Academy v. S. & S. Roof Maintenance, Inc., 146 Ill.2d 263, 273, 586 N.E.2d 1211 (1992). Amendments to pleadings should be liberally allowed. Loyola Academy, 146 Ill.2d at 273.

The Respondent has failed to demonstrate any prejudice whatsoever that resulted from the minor amendments to the complaint. The amendments merely corrected a few dates and did not change the nature of the charges. Moreover, with respect to both counts, the Respondent admitted that he deposited clients' funds into his trust account, his account was overdrawn, and he used his clients' funds for his own business and personal expenses. In light of these admissions, and the fact that the Respondent did not dispute the accuracy of the bank statements or object to their admission, the amendments had no prejudicial impact and the Hearing Board did not abuse its discretion in allowing them. See In re Kitsos, 92 CH 407 (Review Board, Dec. 9, 1994) at 6-8 ("Where the party does not show how the allowed amendment prejudiced him, the reviewing body cannot say that the trial court abused its discretion given the policy to freely allow amendments so that a party may fully present its cause of action.")

The Respondent argues that he was further prejudiced when the Hearing Board Chair allowed the Administrator to present evidence of additional uncharged misconduct. In addition to the conversions charged in the complaint, the Administrator submitted bank statements from seventeen different months between February 2005 and May 2009 that showed a negative balance for the Respondent's client trust account.

The Respondent acknowledges that it is appropriate to consider uncharged conduct as a factor in aggravation, but asserts that his right to due process should outweigh the Administrator's interest in submitting such evidence. We reject the Respondent's assertion for the following reasons.

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First, the Respondent did not object to the admission of his bank statements into evidence, and he was or should have been aware of the contents of those statements. Further, the supreme court has clearly stated that it is appropriate to consider uncharged misconduct in aggravation when the uncharged conduct "was similar to the current charges and established by evidence in the record." In re Storment, 203 Ill.2d 378, 401, 786 N.E.2d 963 (2002). As the Administrator notes, the supreme court rejected a due process argument similar to the Respondent's in In re Elias, 114 Ill.2d 321, 336, 499 N.E.2d 1327 (1986), explaining that "[t]he ‘charges' to which respondent alludes are not charges at all. They are illustrative of respondent's pattern and practice of commingling and conversion as charged in . . . the Administrator's complaint."

The uncharged conduct at issue here is identical to the eleven counts of conversion set forth in the Administrator's complaint and was established by the Respondent's bank statements, which were admitted into evidence without objection. For these reasons, the Hearing Board Chair did not abuse his discretion in allowing evidence of the Respondent's continuing pattern of misconduct.

The Respondent further asserts that the submission of evidence pertaining to a prior disciplinary proceeding was improper and prejudicial. The parties stipulated that the Respondent has no prior discipline. However, when counsel for the Administrator called the Respondent as an adverse witness, he asked Respondent the following question:

  1. Now, at the time that you submitted those false bank records which are contained at Exhibits 34 and 35, you knew, didn't you, that the Administrator was about to pursue formal charges against you in connection with other matters; isn't that right?

  1. Yes.

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Later, counsel for the Administrator asked the Respondent whether he submitted the falsified bank statements because he did not want the real bank statements to come to light in the earlier disciplinary proceeding. The Respondent's counsel objected, and the Hearing Board Chair ruled that the Administrator would be "allowed some latitude in probing the witness's mind about the issue of intent and motive," in light of the Respondent's denial of an intent to conceal the bank statements or to mislead the Administrator. Pursuant to a question from the Hearing Board Chair, counsel for the Administrator advised the Hearing Board that the Respondent's prior disciplinary matter, which was filed in 2004, was ultimately dismissed. Subsequently, the Respondent testified that he submitted the false records because of poor decision-making, due in part to the prior disciplinary investigation that began in 1999 and the financial burden of defending himself.

During the direct examination of the Respondent, his attorney questioned him further about the history of the prior disciplinary matter and its effect on the Respondent. The Respondent explained that the previous disciplinary matter involved alleged solicitation of clients, not conversion of client funds. He felt that the prior proceeding was unfair and did not want to go through it again.

Supreme Court Rule 753(c)(5) provides that "[i]nformation regarding prior discipline of a respondent will not be divulged to a hearing panel until after there has been a finding of misconduct, unless that information would be admissible for reasons other than to show a propensity to commit the misconduct in question." Our research has not revealed a case that addresses the propriety of divulging a prior disciplinary proceeding that did not result in discipline. We need not address, however, whether Rule 753(c)(5) should be read to preclude the admissibility of such evidence. Assuming for the sake of argument that Rule 753(c)(5) did

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apply, the Hearing Board Chair did not abuse his discretion when he ruled that evidence of the timing of the Respondent's prior disciplinary matter was admissible. The Administrator did not submit the evidence for the purpose of showing that the Respondent had a propensity to commit the misconduct at issue here. Rather, the evidence was relevant to the Respondent's motive for falsifying his bank statements.

The record does not support the Respondent's contention that the "perception of the hearing panel clearly was that [he] had prior discipline." The Respondent inaccurately states in his brief that the Hearing Board Chair "even indicated, though informed that the Respondent-Appellant had no previous discipline from the ARDC, that he, in fact, had engaged in "prior misconduct" from a previous ARDC investigation." Respondent's Brief at 20. No such statement appears in the record. Rather, the Hearing Board Chair said "there was a case that went up through the system and no finding of discipline. And we will certainly treat that as we should in that case."

Thus, the record indicates that the evidence pertaining to the Respondent's prior disciplinary proceeding was admitted for the proper purpose of showing motive, and that Respondent suffered no prejudice as a result of its admission. The Hearing Board was aware that the previous charges against the Respondent were dismissed and limited its consideration of the previous charges to the issue of motive.

The Respondent has not established any procedural or evidentiary error that would justify a reversal of the Hearing Board's findings of fact and misconduct. Accordingly, we affirm the Hearing Board's findings in their entirety.

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Turning to the sanction, the Respondent asserts that the relevant case law does not support the Hearing Board's recommendation of disbarment. The Administrator argues that disbarment is appropriate because of the Respondent's intentional and dishonest conduct.

The Hearing Board's sanction is advisory. In re Ingersoll, 186 Ill.2d 163,178, 710 N.E.2d 390 (1999). A sanction should not be punitive, but should protect the public, maintain the integrity of the legal profession, and safeguard the administration of justice from reproach. In re Timpone, 157 Ill.2d 178, 197, 623 N.E.2d 300 (1993). We endeavor to recommend a sanction that is consistent with sanctions imposed in similar cases. Timpone, 157 Ill.2d at 197, 623 N.E.2d 300. However, we must consider the unique circumstances of each case, including the nature of the misconduct and any factors in aggravation and mitigation. In re Witt, 145 Ill.2d 380, 398, 583 N.E.2d 526 (1991).

The Respondent's misconduct is particularly egregious. This is not a case of sloppy bookkeeping. Rather, the Respondent used his client trust account as a personal checking account, withdrawing funds when he needed to pay business or personal expenses. His client trust account was overdrawn 32 out of the 49 months between September 2004, and October 2008. Fortunately for his clients, the Respondent eventually paid the sums they were due, but some payments were delayed for several months. The Respondent intentionally and dishonestly converted at least $138,000, and had no regard for his obligation to safeguard the funds that he held on behalf of his clients. We reject the Respondent's assertion that we should not consider for sanction purposes the Hearing Board's finding that his conversions were intentional and dishonest. There is no other reasonable explanation for the Respondent's conduct. The evidence amply supports the Hearing Board's findings and the Respondent has provided no reason to disregard them.

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The Respondent's intentional falsification of the bank statements he submitted to the Administrator is especially troubling. His repeated fraudulent attempts to deceive the Administrator in order to avoid disciplinary action obstructed and prejudiced the disciplinary process (In re Cagle, 05 CH 23 (Hearing Board, Nov. 8, 2006) at 42, approved and confirmed, No. M.R. 21355 (March 19, 2007)) and cast serious doubt on his integrity and character.

The supreme court looks harshly upon intentional conversion of client funds and the submission of false information to the Administrator. The court has stated that "[o]ther offenses might be excused, but conversion to his own use of the property of his client is an offense that cannot in any degree be countenanced." In re Stillo, 68 Ill.2d 49, 54, 268 N.E.2d 897 (1977), quoting People ex rel. Black v. Smith, 290 Ill. 241, 251, 124 N.E. 807 (1919). Similarly, the court has held that giving false testimony or providing false information to the Administrator "demonstrates a further unfitness of an attorney to practice law." In re Bell, 147 Ill.15, 39, 588 N.E.2d 1093 (1992), quoting Stillo, 68 Ill.2d at 55.

The Respondent's serious misconduct is aggravated by the fact that it was not a single incident, but a pattern that continued for at least five years. See In re Smith, 168 Ill.2d 269, 659 N.E.2d 896 (1995). The evidence of additional uncharged conversions, which we also consider in aggravation (see In re Storment, 203 Ill.2d 378, 786 N.E.2d 963 (2002), showed that the Respondent continued to overdraw his client trust account as late as May 2009, almost six months after the complaint was filed in this matter. This lengthy pattern of conversion gives us very little confidence that the Respondent would be able to properly maintain client funds in the future.

Further, we agree with the Hearing Board that the Respondent placed his client funds in serious jeopardy and also harmed the disciplinary process by deceiving the

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Administrator into closing the investigation in the Geddes-Smith matter in 2004. These factors further aggravate the Respondent's misconduct. See In re Lewis, 118 Ill.2d 357, 362-363, 535 N.E.2d 825 (1989). In addition, two of the Respondent's clients had to retain other counsel to obtain their settlement funds due to the Respondent's delay. This is another example of prejudice to the administration of justice caused by the Respondent's misconduct (see In re Maksymonko, 00 CH 44 (Review Board, Sept. 20, 2002), petition for leave to file exceptions allowed, No. M.R. 18436 (Jan. 23, 2003)) as well as another factor in aggravation (see In re Uhler, 126 Ill.2d 532, 540, 535 N.E.2d 825 (1989)).

Contrary to the Respondent's assertion, the evidence he presented in mitigation does not substantially impact the sanction recommendation. The Respondent has no prior discipline and devotes ten to eighteen percent of his time to pro bono work. He expressed remorse and said that falsifying the bank records was a terrible mistake. The Respondent presented positive character testimony from Father Clements and Eva Adams, but neither of them could say that his or her opinion of the Respondent would remain unchanged if the Respondent were found to have committed the charged misconduct. Consequently, we give little weight to these witnesses' testimony. While the Respondent's pro bono work and involvement in his church are commendable, this modest amount of mitigating evidence does not justify reducing the recommended sanction given the egregious nature of the misconduct.

Having reviewed the cases the Respondent cites in support of a three-year suspension, we conclude that none of them involve misconduct as egregious as the Respondent's. Many of the cases involved conversion but not dishonest conduct. In re Clayter, 78 Ill.2d 276, 399 N.E.2d 1318 (1980); In re Freiman, 118 Ill.2d 341, 515 N.E.2d 78 (1987); In re Ushijima, 119 Ill.2d 51, 518 N.E.2d 73 (1987). In those cases where a respondent committed

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both conversion and dishonest conduct, the misconduct is on a much lesser scale than the Respondent's. In re Elias, 114 Ill.2d 321, 499 N.E.2d 1327 (1986) (conversion and commingling of client funds and acting deceptively by giving clients post-dated checks that were sometimes dishonored in exchange for their endorsement of settlement checks); In re Joyce, 133 Ill.2d 16, 549 N.E.2d 232 (1989) (conversion of a $2,000 settlement check and engaged in dishonest conduct); In re Altman, 128 Ill.2d 206, 538 N.E.2d 1105 (1989) (forging client's signature on $12,670 settlement check and converting the settlement funds over a three-month period); In re Holz, 125 Ill.2d 546, 533 N.E.2d 818 (1988) (conversion of approximately $48,000 from two clients and filing of false bankruptcy documents). Consequently, we decline to rely on these cases.

The Timpone cases cited by the Respondent come closest to the degree of misconduct present here. In re Timpone, 157 Ill.2d 178, 623 N.E.2d 300 (1993) (Timpone I); In re Timpone, 208 Ill.2d 371, 804 N.E.2d 560 (2004) (Timpone II). In Timpone I, the respondent was suspended for three years for engaging in a pattern of misconduct that included converting approximately $70,000, and acting dishonestly by making a misrepresentation to the ARDC and hiding a client's assets from the court. Unlike the Respondent, Timpone's conversions were found to be the result of sloppy bookkeeping and an overly busy practice as opposed to a dishonest motive.

Timpone was later censured for failing to file tax returns. Then, in Timpone II, he was suspended for 42 months and until further order of the court for: entering into an improper $35,000 loan with a client and failing to repay it; exerting undue influence; negotiating a settlement check for approximately $23,000 without his client's authority and converting those funds; and directing his associate to prepare letters to the ARDC that contained false statements.

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Timpone II, 208 Ill.2d at 389, 804 N.E.2d 560. The majority of the supreme court declined to disbar Timpone because the misconduct at issue, on its own, did not warrant the harshest possible sanction. The majority concluded that Timpone's recidivism warranted a significant sanction, but determined that a suspension until further order of the court would adequately serve the purposes of protecting the public and the integrity of the legal profession. Timpone II, 208 Ill.2d at 385-389, 804 N.E.2d 560. The dissenting members of the court would have disbarred Timpone. Timpone II, 208 Ill.2d at 398, 804 N.E.2d 560.

Unlike the Timpone cases, the Respondent's misconduct, standing alone, is sufficient to warrant disbarment. The Respondent's conversions were more extensive than all of Timpone's combined. Although Timpone made two false statements to the Administrator through his associate, his deceitful conduct did not rise to the level of falsifying numerous bank statements. Thus, the misconduct in the cases upon which the Respondent relies is not sufficiently similar to the Respondent's misconduct to support a recommendation of a three-year suspension.

The Hearing Board and the Administrator correctly note that numerous respondents have been disbarred for misconduct similar to or less egregious than the Respondent's.

In In re Levin, 04 CH 133 (Hearing Board, April 22, 2005), approved and confirmed, No. M.R. 20236 (Sept. 26, 2005), the respondent, over a four-year period, converted approximately $240,000 that he was holding in escrow for a client. When the client asked for confirmation that Levin continued to hold the appropriate amount of funds, Levin falsified two bank statements and gave them to his client. Levin had no prior discipline in over forty years of practice. Unlike the Respondent, Levin did not make full restitution. The Hearing Board

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explained that Levin's calculated scheme to cover up his misconduct "cement[ed] [the] decision that [he] should no longer enjoy the privilege of practicing law in this state." Levin, 04 CH 133, Hearing Board Report and Recommendation at 9-10. The Respondent's misconduct is quite similar to Levin's. Although Levin converted more funds, the Respondent falsified more bank statements and knowingly submitted them to the ARDC in an attempt to avoid disciplinary action for his misdeeds.

The respondent in In re Feldman, 89 Ill.2d 7, 431 N.E.2d 388 (1982), converted approximately $29,400 from an estate by forging his client's signature on nine checks and used the funds to replenish another estate from which he had previously converted funds. The court considered Feldman's lack of prior discipline, restitution, and positive character witnesses but concluded that the mitigating evidence could not overcome his improper conduct. The court determined that disbarment was "particularly warranted since the conversion and fraud involved were intentional and consisted of a series of improper acts over an extended period of time." Feldman, 89 Ill.2d at 13, 431 N.E.2d 388.

In re Ucherek, 07 SH 33 (Hearing Board, June 2, 2008), approved and confirmed, No. M.R. 22438 (Sept. 17, 2008) is also similar to the case before us. The respondent converted approximately $55,000 from five clients over a six-year period. He made false statements to his clients and in two separate court pleadings in an effort to cover up the conversions. Like the Respondent, Ucherek had no prior discipline, presented evidence of community activities, and expressed remorse for his wrongdoing. Nonetheless, the majority of the Hearing Board recommended disbarment due to Ucherek's pattern of dishonesty and deceit. The supreme court disbarred Ucherek.

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Based on the foregoing cases, the Hearing Board's recommendation of disbarment is consistent with discipline imposed in cases involving similar misconduct. None of the suspension cases cited by the Respondent involve so many instances of intentional conversion or such deceptive efforts to conceal misconduct from the Administrator.

The supreme court has stated that "[t]he disbarment of a lawyer is a melancholy business but it is in certain instances necessary for the public good." In re Broverman, 40 Ill.2d 302, 307-308, 239 N.E.2d 816 (1968). This is one of those instances. Based on the Respondent's lengthy pattern of conversion and deception of both his clients and the Administrator, we are convinced that a recommendation of disbarment is necessary in this matter to protect the public and to maintain the integrity of the legal profession.

CONCLUSION

We recommend that the Hearing Board's findings of fact and misconduct be affirmed and that the Respondent, Charles Augustus Conner, Jr., be disbarred.

Date Entered: 30 December 2010

Respectfully Submitted,

Bruce J. Meachum
Gordon B. Nash, Jr.
Terrence V. O'Leary