BEFORE THE HEARING BOARD

OF THE

ILLINOIS ATTORNEY REGISTRATION

AND

DISCIPLINARY COMMISSION

In the Matter of:

JORDAN LEE MARGOLIS,

Attorney-Respondent,

No.3124731.

Commission No. 2013PR00070

FILED --- February 10, 2014

 

FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Marita C. Sullivan, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753(b), complains of Respondent, Jordan Lee Margolis, who was licensed to practice law in Illinois on November 5, 1979, and alleges that Respondent has engaged in the following conduct which subjects Respondent to discipline pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 770: 

COUNT I
(Conversion of Les Johnson's settlement proceeds)

1. On or about December 12, 2004, Les Johnson ("Johnson") was injured while working for the William Wrigley Company ("Wrigley") when he fell, twisting his right knee.

2. On or about May 19, 2005, Johnson met with Respondent concerning a possible workers' compensation claim against Wrigley. At that time, Respondent and Johnson agreed that Respondent would pursue a workers' compensation claim on behalf of Johnson. Respondent and Johnson agreed that Respondent's receipt of a fee would be 20% of any recovery.

3. On or about May 29, 2012, Johnson agreed to settle his claims against Wrigley in return for the payment of $375,000 ("Johnson settlement"). Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Respondent was to receive $56,019.60 in attorney's fees from the $375,000 settlement, and after other deductions, Johnson was to receive $318,440.40.

4. In or about early June 2012, Respondent received M & I Bank of Mayville check number 27072206, which had been made payable to Johnson and Respondent in the amount of $375,000, and which represented the Johnson settlement funds. On or about June 4, 2012, Respondent, or someone acting at his direction, deposited the check into an account Respondent maintained at MB Financial Bank that ended in the last four digits 0704 ("MB account"). The MB account was a corporate business checking account, and was used by Respondent as the depository of property belonging to clients or third persons. The MB account was not a client trust account.

5. As of December 24, 2012, Respondent had disbursed only $20,190.80 of the Johnson settlement to Johnson from the MB account. As of that date, Respondent had still not distributed $297,440.23 to Johnson of the $318,440.40 Johnson was to receive from the Johnson settlement funds, and Respondent should still have been holding $297,440.23 on behalf of Johnson.

6. As of December 24, 2012, the balance in Respondent's MB account was $809.37, and Respondent had used $297,440.23 of the Johnson settlement proceeds by issuing checks and making withdrawals for his own business or personal purposes.

7. At no time did Johnson authorize Respondent to use for Respondent's own business or personal purposes any portion of the $318,440.40 Johnson was to receive from the Johnson settlement funds.

8. Between June 2012 and April 2013, Johnson spoke to Respondent several times requesting distribution of his settlement proceeds. In response to Johnson's inquiries, Respondent told Johnson that he would soon distribute the Johnson settlement proceeds to Johnson, but Respondent never did so. Respondent's statements to Johnson that he would soon distribute the Johnson settlement proceeds to Johnson were false, and Respondent knew that they were false.

9. As of May 22, 2013, the date the Inquiry Board voted to file this complaint against Respondent, Respondent had not disbursed the remaining Johnson settlement funds to Johnson.

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

a. failing to hold property of clients or third persons that is in a lawyer's possession in connection with a representation separate from the lawyer's own property, by converting those funds to his own use and causing the balance in his account to fall below the amount then belonging to clients and/or third parties or otherwise failing to preserve those funds separate from his property, and placing client funds in his business checking account instead of a client trust account, in violation of Rule 1.15(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

b. upon receiving funds in which a client or third person has an interest, failing to promptly notify the client or third person, and failing to promptly deliver to the client or third person any funds or other property that the client or third person is entitled to receive, and upon request by the client or third person, failing to promptly render a full accounting regarding such property, in violation of Rule 1.15(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

c. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, by converting client and/or third party funds to his own use and causing the balance in his client trust account to fall below the amount then belonging to clients and/or third parties, and making dishonest statements relating to those funds, in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.

COUNT II
(Conversion of settlement proceeds and misrepresentations
in the Estate of Loretta Gainey wrongful death matter
)
 

11. On or about August 5, 2005, John White, M.D. ("White"), performed thyroidectomy surgery on Loretta Gainey ("Gainey") at Sherman Hospital ("Sherman"). Immediately after the surgery, Gainey had an expanding hematoma of the neck at the surgical site and respiratory distress. Gainey died on June 1, 2006.

12. In or about June 2006, Gainey's husband, Jeffrey Gainey, met with Respondent concerning a possible wrongful death action against White, Sherman, and the other medical providers involved in Gainey's surgery and care. At that time, Respondent and Jeffrey Gainey agreed that Respondent would represent Jeffrey Gainey, as special administrator of the estate of Gainey, in matters relating to Gainey's death. Respondent and Jeffrey Gainey agreed that Respondent's receipt of a fee would be contingent upon obtaining a recovery for Gainey's estate, and would be 1/3 of any recovery.

13. Between August 5, 2005, the date of Gainey's surgery, and June 1, 2006, the date of Gainey's death, Gainey received medical treatment which was paid by Jeffrey Gainey's health insurance carrier, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois ("Blue Cross"), and for which Blue Cross asserted a lien of $421,736. On or about August 4, 2006, Blue Cross sent Respondent a letter notifying Respondent of its lien of $421,736 in connection with Gainey's medical treatment. Respondent received the letter shortly after it was sent.

14. On or about December 29, 2006, Respondent filed suit on behalf of Gainey's estate against White, Sherman, and the other medical providers involved in Gainey's care. The Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County received the matter and docketed it as Jeffrey Gainey, Individually and as Special Administrator of the Estate of Loretta Gainey, Deceased, v. Sherman Hospital, Apiwat Ford, M.D., John White, M.D., Midwest Surgery SC, Glenn Batiller, M.D., Renukadevi Garla, M.D. and United Anesthesia Associates, S.C., 06 L 13612.

15. On or about November 23, 2010, Respondent and Greg Mollerud ("Mollerud"), a corporate reimbursement representative at Blue Cross, agreed that Blue Cross would reduce the amount of its lien, which by that date amounted to $465,630.66, in connection with Gainey's medical treatment, and would accept $250,000 from any settlement reached in the Gainey matter as full satisfaction of Blue Cross' claimed amount. On that date, Mollerud sent Respondent a letter confirming Respondent and Mollerud's agreement, and Respondent received the letter shortly after it was sent.

16. In or about December 2010, Jeffrey Gainey agreed to settle the claims of Gainey's estate against the defendants in case number 06 L 13612 in return for the payment of $2,400,000 ("Gainey settlement").

17. On or about December 8, 2010, Chicago Hospital Risk Pooling, Sherman's insurance carrier, wire transferred $2,400,000, which represented the Gainey settlement funds, into an account Respondent maintained at MB Financial Bank that ended in the last four digits 0704 ("MB account"). The MB account was a corporate business checking account, and was used by Respondent as the depository of property belonging to clients or third persons. The MB account was not a client trust account. Shortly after receipt of the wire transfer, Respondent, or someone acting at his direction, made disbursements from the Gainey settlement proceeds, except Respondent held back $250,000 in order to pay Blue Cross the amount it had agreed to accept in satisfaction of the lien it asserted in connection with Gainey's medical treatment.

18. Between November 30, 2010, and December 5, 2012, Mollerud telephoned Respondent on 27 occasions, and sent Respondent six letters, inquiring when Blue Cross would receive its $250,000 payment from the Gainey settlement. In response to Mollerud's inquiries, Respondent, or someone acting at his direction, told Mollerud that a matter relating to case number 06 L 13612 prevented Respondent from distributing the $250,000 owed to Blue Cross.

19. Statements to Mollerud that a matter relating to case number 06 L 13612 prevented Respondent from distributing the $250,000 owed to Blue Cross, made by Respondent and those acting at his direction, were misleading, and Respondent knew they were misleading. There was no matter preventing Respondent from distributing to Blue Cross the money it was owed, and by making those statements, Respondent, and those acting at his direction, intended to mislead Mollerud into believing that Respondent could not pay the money due Blue Cross from the Gainey settlement funds.

20. As of December 24, 2012, Respondent had not disbursed any money to Blue Cross from the Gainey settlement in payment of its lien. As of that date, Respondent should still have been holding $250,000 on behalf of Blue Cross from the Gainey settlement proceeds.

21. As of December 24, 2012, the balance in Respondent's MB account was $809.37, and Respondent had used $249,190.63 of the Gainey settlement proceeds by issuing checks and making withdrawals for his own business or personal purposes.

22. At no time did Jeffrey Gainey, Mollerud, or anyone at Blue Cross authorize Respondent to use for Respondent's own business or personal purposes the $250,000 due Blue Cross from the Gainey settlement proceeds.

23. As of May 22, 2013, the date the Inquiry Board voted to file this complaint against Respondent, he had not paid Blue Cross its $250,000 lien from the Gainey settlement proceeds.

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

a. failing to hold property of clients or third persons that is in a lawyer's possession in connection with a representation separate from the lawyer's own property, by converting those funds to his own use and causing the balance in his account to fall below the amount then belonging to clients and/or third parties or otherwise failing to preserve those funds separate from his property, and placing client funds in his business checking account instead of a client trust account, in violation of Rule 1.15(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

b. upon receiving funds in which a client or third person has an interest, failing to promptly notify the client or third person, and failing to promptly deliver to the client or third person any funds or other property that the client or third person is entitled to receive, and upon request by the client or third person, failing to promptly render a full accounting regarding such property, in violation of Rule 1.15(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

c. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, by converting client and/or third party funds to his own use and causing the balance in his client trust account to fall below the amount then belonging to clients and/or third parties, and making dishonest statements relating to those funds, in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.

COUNT III
(Conversion of settlement proceeds, forgery, and misrepresentations to Angelo Rosaschi)

25. On or about January 31, 2009, Angelo Rosaschi ("Rosaschi") was injured while working for The Home Depot ("Home Depot") when he struck his head in a stairwell and suffered a closed head injury and three herniated cervical discs.

26. On or about August 9, 2009, Rosaschi met with Respondent concerning a possible workers' compensation claim against Home Depot. At that time, Respondent and Rosaschi agreed that Respondent would pursue a workers' compensation claim on behalf of Rosaschi. Respondent and Rosaschi agreed that Respondent's receipt of a fee would be 20% of any recovery.

27. On or about November 10, 2011, Rosaschi agreed to settle his claims against Home Depot in return for the payment of $266,506 ("Rosaschi settlement").

28. On or about November 15, 2011, Respondent received Chase Bank check number 65162556, which had been made payable to Rosaschi in the amount of $15,000, and which represented a portion of the Rosaschi settlement funds. On or about November 15, 2011, Respondent, or someone acting at his direction, affixed the purported signature of Rosaschi on the back of check number 65162556 and deposited it into an account Respondent maintained at MB Financial Bank that ended in the last four digits 0704 ("MB account"). The MB account was a corporate business checking account, and was used by Respondent as the depository of property belonging to clients or third persons. The MB account was not a client trust account.

29. On or about November 21, 2011, Respondent received Chase Bank check numbers 65164990, 65165007, and 65165009 in connection with the Rosaschi settlement. Check numbers 65164990 and 65165007 had been made payable Rosaschi in the amount of $191,045.96 and $6,506 respectively, and represented a portion of the Rosaschi settlement funds. Check number 65165009 was made payable to Respondent in the amount of $53,954.04, and represented Respondent's attorney fees for the Rosaschi matter. On or about November 21, 2011, Respondent, or someone acting at his direction, affixed the purported signature of Rosaschi on the back of check numbers 65164990 and 65165007 and deposited the checks into Respondent's MB account. On that same date Respondent, or someone acting at his direction, deposited check number 65165009 into Respondent's MB account.

30. At no time did Rosaschi authorize Respondent, or anyone acting at his direction, to affix his endorsement to any check in connection with the Rosaschi settlement.

31. On or about February 8, 2012, Respondent, or someone acting at his direction, sent Rosaschi a letter with a check payable to Rosaschi in the amount of $12,000, representing a partial distribution of Rosaschi's settlement. In the letter Respondent, or someone acting at his direction, also stated that "[w]e will reconcile matters when the main check is received."

32. The statement to Rosaschi that "[w]e will reconcile matters when the main check is received," made by Respondent or someone acting at his direction, was misleading, and Respondent knew it was misleading. By making that statement, Respondent, or someone acting at his direction, intended to mislead Rosaschi into believing that Respondent had not yet received all of the Rosaschi settlement funds.

33. As of February 22, 2012, Respondent had disbursed only $24,107.75 to Rosaschi from the Rosaschi settlement. As of that date, and after payment of Respondent's attorney's fees and other costs and expenses, Respondent should still have been holding $188,144.21 on behalf of Rosaschi from the Rosaschi settlement proceeds.

34. As of February 22, 2012, the balance in Respondent's MB account was $5981.69, and Respondent had used $182,162.52 of the Rosaschi settlement proceeds by issuing checks and making withdrawals for his own business or personal purposes.

35. At no time did Rosaschi authorize Respondent to use for Respondent's own business or personal purposes any portion of the amounts due Rosaschi from his settlement funds.

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

a. failing to hold property of clients or third persons that is in a lawyer's possession in connection with a representation separate from the lawyer's own property, by converting those funds to his own use and causing the balance in his account to fall below the amount then belonging to clients and/or third parties or otherwise failing to preserve those funds separate from his property, and placing client funds in his business checking account instead of a client trust account, in violation of Rule 1.15(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

b. upon receiving funds in which a client or third person has an interest, failing to promptly notify the client or third person, and failing to promptly deliver to the client or third person any funds or other property that the client or third person is entitled to receive, and upon request by the client or third person, failing to promptly render a full accounting regarding such property, in violation of Rule 1.15(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

c. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, by converting client and/or third party funds to his own use and causing the balance in his client trust account to fall below the amount then belonging to clients and/or third parties, and making dishonest statements relating to those funds, and signing his client's name without authority, in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.

COUNT IV
(Conversion of settlement proceeds, forgery, and misrepresentations to Sherry Tobias-Rontos)

37. On or about October 6, 2006, Sherry Tobias-Rontos ("Tobias-Rontos") was injured while working for the City of Chicago ("the City") when she hurt her back while lifting boxes. On or about August 15, 2007, Tobias-Rontos was again injured while working for the City when a chair rolled over her right foot. On or about September 4, 2007, Tobias-Rontos was again injured while working for the City when she hurt her hands and arms while lifting boxes.

38. In or about October, 2008, Tobias-Rontos met with Respondent concerning possible workers' compensation claims against the City. At that time, Respondent and Tobias-Rontos agreed that Respondent would pursue workers' compensation claims on behalf of Tobias-Rontos. Respondent and Tobias-Rontos agreed that Respondent's receipt of a fee would be 20% of any recovery.

39. In or about May 2012, Tobias-Rontos agreed to settle all of her claims against the City in return for the payment of $130,000 ("Tobias-Rontos settlement"). Under the terms of the settlement agreement, after the payment of attorney's fees and after other deductions, Tobias-Rontos was to receive $103,225.

40. When Tobias-Rontos agreed to settle all of her claims against the City, as described in paragraph 39 above, she specifically told Respondent that she wanted to review all settlement papers relating to her claims. On or about June 4, 2012, Respondent, or someone acting at his direction, affixed the purported signature of Tobias-Rontos on the settlement papers resolving her claims against the City without permitting Tobias-Rontos to first review the settlement papers and without Tobias-Rontos' authorization to sign her name.

41. On or about July 16, 2012, Respondent received Old National Bank check numbers 013512 and 013513, which had been made payable to Tobias-Rontos and Respondent in the amounts of $95,000 and 35,000 respectively, and which represented the Tobias-Rontos settlement funds. On or about July 18, 2012, Respondent, or someone acting at his direction, affixed the purported signature of Tobias-Rontos on the back of check numbers 013512 and 013513 and deposited the checks into an account Respondent maintained at MB Financial Bank that ended in the last four digits 0704 ("MB account"). The MB account was a corporate business checking account, and was used by Respondent as the depository of property belonging to clients or third persons. The MB account was not a client trust account.

42. At no time did Tobias-Rontos authorize Respondent, or anyone acting at his direction, to affix her endorsement to any document in connection with the Tobias-Rontos settlement.

43. As of December 24, 2012, Respondent had not disbursed any money to Tobias-Rontos from the Tobias-Rontos settlement. As of that date, Respondent should still have been holding $103,225 on behalf of Tobias-Rontos from the Tobias-Rontos settlement proceeds.

44. As of December 24, 2012, the balance in Respondent's MB account was $809.37, and Respondent had used $102,415.63 of the Tobias-Rontos settlement proceeds by issuing checks and making withdrawals for his own business or personal purposes.

45. At no time did Tobias-Rontos authorize Respondent to use for Respondent's own business or personal purposes any portion of the amounts due Tobias-Rontos from her settlement funds.

46. Between October 2012 and May 2013, Tobias-Rontos contacted Respondent's firm on several occasions to find out when she would receive her settlement proceeds. During that time period, Respondent, or someone acting at his direction, told Tobias-Rontos that she would receive her funds shortly. Respondent's statements to Tobias-Rontos that he would soon distribute the Tobias-Rontos settlement proceeds to Tobias-Rontos were false, and Respondent knew that they were false.

47. As of May 22, 2013, the date the Inquiry Board voted to file this complaint against Respondent, he had not disbursed any of the Tobias-Rontos settlement funds to Tobias-Rontos.

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

a. failing to hold property of clients or third persons that is in a lawyer's possession in connection with a representation separate from the lawyer's own property, by converting those funds to his own use and causing the balance in his account to fall below the amount then belonging to clients and/or third parties or otherwise failing to preserve those funds separate from his property, and placing client funds in his business checking account instead of a client trust account, in violation of Rule 1.15(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

b. upon receiving funds in which a client or third person has an interest, failing to promptly notify the client or third person, and failing to promptly deliver to the client or third person any funds or other property that the client or third person is entitled to receive, and upon request by the client or third person, failing to promptly render a full accounting regarding such property, in violation of Rule 1.15(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

c. failure to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information, in violation of Rule 1.4 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

d. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, by converting client and/or third party funds to his own use and causing the balance in his client trust account to fall below the amount then belonging to clients and/or third parties, and making dishonest statements relating to those funds, and signing his client's name without authority, in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.

COUNT V
(Conversion of settlement proceeds, forgery, and misrepresentations to Lisa Hardin)

48. On or about December 22, 2009, Lisa Hardin ("Hardin") was injured when a vehicle driven by Monica McGee-Saulsberry ("McGee-Saulsberry") struck Hardin's vehicle.

50. On or about May 20, 2010, Hardin met with Respondent concerning a possible personal injury action against McGee-Saulsberry. At that time, Respondent and Hardin agreed that Respondent would pursue a personal injury action on behalf of Hardin. Respondent and Hardin agreed that Respondent's receipt of a fee would be contingent upon obtaining a recovery for Hardin, and would be 1/3 of any recovery.

51. In or about December 2011, State Farm Insurance Company, McGee-Saulsberry and Hardin's insurance carrier, agreed to settle Hardin and Respondent claims for a total of $100,000 ("Hardin settlement"). Respondent and Hardin agreed that after the payment of Respondent's attorney's fees in the amount of $33,333.33 and deductions for costs, Hardin was to receive $66,563.08.

52. On or about December 20, 2011, Respondent received State Farm check number 101389313J, which had been made payable to Hardin and Respondent in the amount of $50,000, and which represented a portion of the Hardin settlement funds. On or about December 27, 2011, Respondent, or someone acting at his direction, affixed the purported signature of Hardin on the back of check number 101389313J and deposited the check into an account Respondent maintained at MB Financial Bank that ended in the last four digits 0704 ("MB account"). The MB account was a corporate business checking account, and was used by Respondent as the depository of property belonging to clients or third persons. The MB account was not a client trust account.

53. On or about January 16, 2012, Respondent received State Farm check number 101438131G, which had been made payable to Hardin and Respondent in the amount of $50,000, and which represented a portion of the Hardin settlement funds. On or about January 19, 2012, Respondent, or someone acting at his direction, affixed the purported signature of Hardin on the back of check number 101438131G and deposited the check into Respondent's MB account.

54. At no time did Hardin authorize Respondent, or anyone acting at his direction, to affix her endorsement to any check in connection with the Hardin settlement.

55. Between January 2012 and August 2012, Hardin contacted Respondent's firm on several occasions to find out the status of her settlement proceeds. In or about July 2012, Respondent, or someone acting at his direction, told Hardin that Respondent had not received all of the Hardin settlement funds, and was still waiting to receive a second check from State Farm Insurance Company.

56. The statement to Hardin that Respondent was still waiting for a second check from State Farm, made by Respondent or someone acting at his direction, was false and misleading, and Respondent knew it was false and misleading. By making that statement, Respondent, or someone acting at his direction, intended to mislead Hardin into believing that Respondent had not yet received all of the Hardin settlement funds.

57. As of December 24, 2012, Respondent had not disbursed any money to Hardin from the Hardin settlement. As of that date, Respondent should still have been holding $66,563.08 on behalf of Hardin from the Hardin settlement proceeds.

58. As of December 24, 2012, the balance in Respondent's MB account was $809.37, and Respondent had used $65,753.71 of the Hardin settlement proceeds by issuing checks and making withdrawals for his own business or personal purposes.

59. At no time did Hardin authorize Respondent to use for Respondent's own business or personal purposes any portion of the amounts due Hardin from her settlement funds.

60. As of May 22, 2013, the date the Inquiry Board voted to file this complaint against Respondent, he had not disbursed any of the Hardin settlement funds to Hardin.

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

a. failing to hold property of clients or third persons that is in a lawyer's possession in connection with a representation separate from the lawyer's own property, by converting those funds to his own use and causing the balance in his account to fall below the amount then belonging to clients and/or third parties or otherwise failing to preserve those funds separate from his property, and placing client funds in his business checking account instead of a client trust account, in violation of Rule 1.15(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

b. upon receiving funds in which a client or third person has an interest, failing to promptly notify the client or third person, and failing to promptly deliver to the client or third person any funds or other property that the client or third person is entitled to receive, and upon request by the client or third person, failing to promptly render a full accounting regarding such property, in violation of Rule 1.15(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

c. failure to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information, in violation of Rule 1.4 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

d. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, by converting client and/or third party funds to his own use and causing the balance in his client trust account to fall below the amount then belonging to clients and/or third parties, and making dishonest statements relating to those funds, and signing his client's name without authority, in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.

COUNT VI
(Conversion of Maria Mendoza's settlement proceeds)

62. On or about December 4, 2010, Maria Mendoza ("Mendoza") was injured while working for the Embassy Suites ("Embassy") in Rosemont, Illinois when she slipped on ice and injured her knee and back.

63. On or about December 28, 2010, Mendoza met with Respondent concerning a possible workers' compensation claim against Embassy. At that time, Respondent and Mendoza agreed that Respondent would pursue a workers' compensation claim on behalf of Mendoza. Respondent and Mendoza agreed that Respondent's receipt of a fee would be 20% of any recovery.

64. On or about March 5, 2012, Mendoza agreed to settle her claims against Embassy in return for the payment of $80,000 ("Mendoza settlement"). Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Respondent was to receive $16,000 in attorney's fees from the $80,000 settlement, and after other deductions, Mendoza was to receive $63,950.

65. On or about March 22, 2012, Respondent received LaSalle Bank check number 1101704224, which had been made payable to Mendoza and Respondent in the amount of $80,000, and which represented the Mendoza settlement funds. On or about March 23, 2012, Respondent, or someone acting at his direction, deposited the check into an account Respondent maintained at MB Financial Bank that ended in the last four digits 0704 ("MB account"). The MB account was a corporate business checking account, and was used by Respondent as the depository of property belonging to clients or third persons. The MB account was not a client trust account.

66. As of December 24, 2012, Respondent had disbursed only $5,000 of the Mendoza settlement to Mendoza from the MB account. As of that date, Respondent had still not distributed $58,950 to Mendoza of the $63,950 Mendoza was to receive from the Mendoza settlement funds, and Respondent should still have been holding $58,950 on behalf of Mendoza.

67. As of December 24, 2012, the balance in Respondent's MB account was $809.37, and Respondent had used $58,140.63 of the Mendoza settlement proceeds by issuing checks and making withdrawals for his own business or personal purposes.

68. At no time did Mendoza authorize Respondent to use for Respondent's own business or personal purposes any portion of the amounts due Mendoza from her settlement funds.

69. As of May 22, 2013, the date the Inquiry Board voted to file this complaint against Respondent, he still had not disbursed $58,950 of the Mendoza settlement funds to Mendoza.

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

a. failing to hold property of clients or third persons that is in a lawyer's possession in connection with a representation separate from the lawyer's own property, by converting those funds to his own use and causing the balance in his account to fall below the amount then belonging to clients and/or third parties or otherwise failing to preserve those funds separate from his property, and placing client funds in his business checking account instead of a client trust account, in violation of Rule 1.15(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

b. upon receiving funds in which a client or third person has an interest, failing to promptly notify the client or third person, and failing to promptly deliver to the client or third person any funds or other property that the client or third person is entitled to receive, and upon request by the client or third person, failing to promptly render a full accounting regarding such property, in violation of Rule 1.15(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

c. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, by converting client and/or third party funds to his own use and causing the balance in his client trust account to fall below the amount then belonging to clients and/or third parties, in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.

COUNT VII
(Conversion of Richard Beien's settlement proceeds)

71. On or about June 11, 2010, Richard Beien ("Beien") sustained injuries when a motorcycle he was operating collided with a taxi cab operated by Emmanuel Nundo ("Nundo") and owned by Bridged Cab Company ("Bridged").

72. On or about September 20, 2011, Beien met with Respondent concerning a possible personal injury action against Nundo and Bridged. At that time, Respondent and Beien agreed that Respondent would pursue a personal injury action on behalf of Beien. Respondent and Beien agreed that Respondent's receipt of a fee would be contingent upon obtaining a recovery for Beien, and would be 1/3 of any recovery.

73. In or about March 2012, Beien agreed to settle his claims against Nundo and Bridged in return for the payment of $55,000 ("Beien settlement"). Respondent and Beien agreed that after the payment of Respondent's attorney's fees in the amount of $18,333.33 and other deductions, Beien was to receive $31,239.46.

74. On or about March 7, 2012, Respondent received JP Morgan Chase check number 0076003654, which had been made payable to Beien and Charles Candiano, the associate at Respondent's firm who Respondent assigned to work on the Beien matter, in the amount of $55,000, and which represented the Beien settlement funds. On or about March 12, 2012, Respondent, or someone acting at his direction, deposited the check into an account Respondent maintained at MB Financial Bank that ended in the last four digits 0704 ("MB account"). The MB account was a corporate business checking account, and was used by Respondent as the depository of property belonging to clients or third persons. The MB account was not a client trust account.

75. As of December 24, 2012, Respondent had not disbursed any money to Beien from the Beien settlement. As of that date, Respondent should still have been holding $31,239.46 on behalf of Beien from the Beien settlement proceeds.

76. As of December 24, 2012, the balance in Respondent's MB account was $809.37, and Respondent had used $30,430.09 of the Beien settlement proceeds by issuing checks and making withdrawals for his own business or personal purposes.

77. At no time did Beien authorize Respondent to use for Respondent's own business or personal purposes any portion of the amounts due Beien from his settlement funds.

78. As of May 22, 2013, the date the Inquiry Board voted to file this complaint against Respondent, he had not disbursed any of the Beien settlement funds to Beien.

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

a. failing to hold property of clients or third persons that is in a lawyer's possession in connection with a representation separate from the lawyer's own property, by converting those funds to his own use and causing the balance in his account to fall below the amount then belonging to clients and/or third parties or otherwise failing to preserve those funds separate from his property, and placing client funds in his business checking account instead of a client trust account, in violation of Rule 1.15(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

b. upon receiving funds in which a client or third person has an interest, failing to promptly notify the client or third person, and failing to promptly deliver to the client or third person any funds or other property that the client or third person is entitled to receive, and upon request by the client or third person, failing to promptly render a full accounting regarding such property, in violation of Rule 1.15(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

c. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, by converting client and/or third party funds to his own use and causing the balance in his client trust account to fall below the amount then belonging to clients and/or third parties, in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.

COUNT VIII
(Conversion of Michelle Eaton's settlement proceeds)

80. On or about September 1, 2009, Michelle Eaton ("Eaton") injured her neck while working for the Porter County, Indiana, Sheriff's Office ("Porter County").

81. In or about September 2009, Eaton met with Respondent concerning a possible workers' compensation claim against Porter County. At that time, Respondent and Eaton agreed that Respondent would pursue a workers' compensation claim on behalf of Eaton. Respondent and Eaton agreed that Respondent's receipt of a fee would be 20% of any recovery.

82. In or about September 2012, Eaton agreed to settle her claims against Porter County in return for the payment of $27,500 ("Eaton settlement"). Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Respondent was to receive $5,500 in attorney's fees from the $27,500 settlement, and after other deductions, Eaton was to receive $21,791.46.

83. On or about October 4, 2012, Respondent received Northern Trust check number 481760, which had been made payable to Eaton and Charles Candiano, the associate at Respondent's firm who Respondent assigned to work on the Eaton matter, in the amount of $27,500, and which represented the Eaton settlement funds. On or about October 26, 2012, Respondent, or someone acting at his direction, deposited the check into an account Respondent maintained at MB Financial Bank that ended in the last four digits 0704 ("MB account"). The MB account was a corporate business checking account, and was used by Respondent as the depository of property belonging to clients or third persons. The MB account was not a client trust account.

84. As of December 24, 2012, Respondent had not disbursed any money to Eaton from the Eaton settlement. As of that date, Respondent should still have been holding $21,791.46 on behalf of Eaton from the Eaton settlement proceeds.

85. As of December 24, 2012, the balance in Respondent's MB account was $809.37, and Respondent had used $20,982.09 of the Eaton settlement proceeds by issuing checks and making withdrawals for his own business or personal purposes.

86. At no time did Eaton authorize Respondent to use for Respondent's own business or personal purposes any portion of the amounts due Eaton from her settlement funds.

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

a. failing to hold property of clients or third persons that is in a lawyer's possession in connection with a representation separate from the lawyer's own property, by converting those funds to his own use and causing the balance in his account to fall below the amount then belonging to clients and/or third parties or otherwise failing to preserve those funds separate from his property, and placing client funds in his business checking account instead of a client trust account, in violation of Rule 1.15(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

b. upon receiving funds in which a client or third person has an interest, failing to promptly notify the client or third person, and failing to promptly deliver to the client or third person any funds or other property that the client or third person is entitled to receive, and upon request by the client or third person, failing to promptly render a full accounting regarding such property, in violation of Rule 1.15(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

c. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, by converting client and/or third party funds to his own use and causing the balance in his client trust account to fall below the amount then belonging to clients and/or third parties, in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.

COUNT IX
(Conversion of Athens Springer's settlement proceeds)

88. On or about June 1, 2009, Athens Springer ("Springer") was injured when he was walking eastbound on Monroe Street near Wacker Drive in Chicago and slipped and fell on a metal grate and broke his ankle.

89. On or about July 16, 2009, Springer met with Respondent concerning a possible personal injury action against the City of Chicago and Commonwealth Edison. At that time, Respondent and Springer agreed that Respondent would pursue a personal injury action on behalf of Springer. Respondent and Springer agreed that Respondent's receipt of a fee would be contingent upon obtaining a recovery for Springer, and would be 1/3 of any recovery.

90. In or about March 2012, Commonwealth Edison agreed to settle Springer's claims for $40,000 ("Springer settlement"). Respondent and Springer agreed that after the payment of Respondent's attorney's fees in the amount of $16,000 and other deductions, Springer was to receive $14,784.11.

91. On or about March 21, 2012, Respondent received Bank of New York Mellon check number 0047140183, which had been made payable to Springer and Respondent in the amount of $40,000, and which represented the Springer settlement funds. On or about March 23, 2012, Respondent, or someone acting at his direction, deposited the check into an account Respondent maintained at MB Financial Bank that ended in the last four digits 0704 ("MB account"). The MB account was a corporate business checking account, and was used by Respondent as the depository of property belonging to clients or third persons. The MB account was not a client trust account.

92. Between March 2012 and January 2013, Springer contacted Respondent on several occasions to find out when he would receive his settlement proceeds. In response to Springer's inquiries, Respondent told Springer that he would receive his funds shortly. Respondent's statements to Springer that he would soon distribute the Springer settlement proceeds to Springer were false, and Respondent knew that they were false.

93. As of December 24, 2012, Respondent had not disbursed any money to Springer from the Springer settlement. As of that date, Respondent should still have been holding $14,784.11 on behalf of Springer from the Springer settlement proceeds.

94. As of December 24, 2012, the balance in Respondent's MB account was $809.37, and Respondent had used $13,974.74 of the Springer settlement proceeds by issuing checks and making withdrawals for his own business or personal purposes.

95. At no time did Springer authorize Respondent to use for Respondent's own business or personal purposes any portion of the amounts due Springer from his settlement funds.

96. As of May 22, 2013, the date the Inquiry Board voted to file this complaint against Respondent, he had not disbursed any of the Springer settlement funds to Springer.

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

a. failing to hold property of clients or third persons that is in a lawyer's possession in connection with a representation separate from the lawyer's own property, by converting those funds to his own use and causing the balance in his account to fall below the amount then belonging to clients and/or third parties or otherwise failing to preserve those funds separate from his property, and placing client funds in his business checking account instead of a client trust account, in violation of Rule 1.15(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

b. upon receiving funds in which a client or third person has an interest, failing to promptly notify the client or third person, and failing to promptly deliver to the client or third person any funds or other property that the client or third person is entitled to receive, and upon request by the client or third person, failing to promptly render a full accounting regarding such property, in violation of Rule 1.15(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

c. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, by converting client and/or third party funds to his own use and causing the balance in his client trust account to fall below the amount then belonging to clients and/or third parties, and making dishonest statements relating to those funds, in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.

COUNT X
(Conversion of Tommie Gills' settlement proceeds)

98. On or about April 17, 2011, Tommie Gills ("Gills") sustained injuries when a vehicle he was operating collided with a vehicle operated by Kyung Kim ("Kim").

99. On or about April 18, 2011, Gills met with Respondent concerning a possible personal injury action against Kim. At that time, Respondent and Gills agreed that Respondent would pursue a personal injury action on behalf of Gills. Respondent and Gills agreed that Respondent's receipt of a fee would be contingent upon obtaining a recovery for Gills, and would be 1/3 of any recovery.

100. In or about April 2012, State Farm Insurance Company, Gill's insurance carrier, agreed to issue payments to Gills totaling $14,122.04 as partial payment to Gill for injuries he sustained ("Gills settlement"). Respondent and Gills agreed that after the payment of Respondent's attorney's fees in the amount of $4,707.34 and other deductions, Gills was to receive $9,364.70.

101. On or about April 10, 2012, Respondent received JP Morgan Chase check number 101596590, which had been made payable to Gills and Respondent in the amount of $5,000, and which represented a portion of the Gills settlement funds. On or about April 18, 2012, Respondent, or someone acting at his direction, deposited the check into an account Respondent maintained at MB Financial Bank that ended in the last four digits 0704 ("MB account"). The MB account was not a client trust account.

102. On or about April 24, 2012, Respondent received JP Morgan Chase check number 101622961, which had been made payable to Gills and Respondent in the amount of $9,122.04, and which represented a portion of the Gills settlement funds. On or about April 27, 2012, Respondent, or someone acting at his direction, deposited the check into Respondent's MB account.

103. Between April 2012 and April 2013, Gills contacted Respondent on several occasions to find out when he would receive his settlement proceeds. In response to Gills' inquiries, Respondent told Gills that he would receive his funds shortly. Respondent's statements to Gills that he would soon distribute the Gills settlement proceeds to Gills were false, and Respondent knew that they were false.

104. As of December 24, 2012, Respondent had not disbursed any money to Gills from the Gills settlement. As of that date, Respondent should still have been holding $9,364.70 on behalf of Gills from the Gills settlement proceeds.

105. As of December 24, 2012, the balance in Respondent's MB account was $809.37, and Respondent had used $8,555.33 of the Gills settlement proceeds by issuing checks and making withdrawals for his own business or personal purposes.

106. At no time did Gills authorize Respondent to use for Respondent's own business or personal purposes any portion of the amounts due Gills from his settlement funds.

107. As of May 22, 2013, the date the Inquiry Board voted to file this complaint against Respondent, he had not disbursed any of the Gills settlement funds to Gills.

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

a. failing to hold property of clients or third persons that is in a lawyer's possession in connection with a representation separate from the lawyer's own property, by converting those funds to his own use and causing the balance in his account to fall below the amount then belonging to clients and/or third parties or otherwise failing to preserve those funds separate from his property, and placing client funds in his business checking account instead of a client trust account, in violation of Rule 1.15(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

b. upon receiving funds in which a client or third person has an interest, failing to promptly notify the client or third person, and failing to promptly deliver to the client or third person any funds or other property that the client or third person is entitled to receive, and upon request by the client or third person, failing to promptly render a full accounting regarding such property, in violation of Rule 1.15(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and

c. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, by converting client and/or third party funds to his own use and causing the balance in his client trust account to fall below the amount then belonging to clients and/or third parties, and making dishonest statements relating to those funds, in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.

WHEREFORE, the Administrator respectfully requests that this matter be assigned to a panel of the Hearing Board, that a hearing be held pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753(b), and the Panel make findings of fact, conclusions of fact and law, and a recommendation of such discipline as is warranted.

Counsel for the Administrator
Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission
130 E. Randloph Drive, #1500
Chicago, IL 60601
Telephone: (312) 565-2600

Respectfully submitted,

Jerome Larkin, Administrator
Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission

By:  Marita C. Sullivan