False Invoices Lead to a One-Year Suspension

A lawyer claimed that she was having a difficult time caring for relatives, submitted false invoices to an assigned counsel program. Respondent was convicted of attempted falsifying business records. The panel’s summary is quoted below:

Respondent was admitted to the practice of law by this Court on June 21, 2010, and she formerly maintained an office in Steuben County. On July 28, 2016, she was convicted upon her plea of guilty in Steuben County Court of attempted falsifying business records in the first degree (Penal Law §§ 110.00, 175.10). During the plea colloquy, respondent admitted that, in December 2015, she submitted to an assigned counsel program a voucher wherein she overstated the time she had spent meeting with certain clients and the expenses she had incurred in relation to three client matters. On October 12, 2016, the court sentenced respondent to a one-year conditional discharge and 200 hours of community service. In August 2017, respondent notified the Grievance Committee of the conviction, at which time she asserted various matters in mitigation, including that her conduct underlying the conviction occurred while she was caring for seriously ill relatives and that the false voucher was primarily attributable to inadvertence and inexperience with assigned counsel billing procedures.

At the disciplinary proceeding, the lawyer attempted to argue that she was not, in fact, guilty, but the panel disregarded that argument.   It explained:

By virtue of her guilty plea, respondent admitted that she filed a false assigned counsel voucher with the requisite fraudulent intent. It is well settled that respondent is precluded from relitigating that issue in this proceeding (see Matter of Levy, 37 NY2d 279, 281 [1975]). ‘via Blog this’

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