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Disbarments

Below is a list of 15 attorneys who were disbarred by the State Bar of California as a result of misconduct. The list covers Feb. 1 through 28, 2017. See an explanation of common discipline terms.

Discipline-related resources from the State Bar:

  1. DEAN ROBERT KITANO
  2. RODGER B. HAGLUND II
  3. JEROME DONALD HANDLEY
  4. WALTER RYAN HAYBERT
  5. CHARLES CONRAD LOBELLO
  6. DEBRA RAWLS PRICOLA
  7. ROBERT G. SCURRAH JR.
  8. THOMAS SCOTT SIMONS
  9. CHRISTOPHER JOHN VAN SON
  10. RACHELLE SHALOM VISCONTE
  11. ALEXANDRA R. EPAND
  12. JAMES LYSTON EVERTTS
  13. GERALD WILLIAM FILICE
  14. LAWRENCE ALLAN MOY
  15. DAVID Q. MEYER

DEAN ROBERT KITANO [#182398], 64, of Santa Ana, was disbarred Feb. 19, 2017 and ordered comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Kitano failed to report to the State Bar a fraud judgment against him, made false representations, sought to mislead a judge or judicial officer and engaged in acts involving moral turpitude.

In 2007, through a company he created and served as sole shareholder called ING Radiology Medical Center, Kitano entered into a partnership agreement with Mir Akhorli to establish a MRI facility in Long Beach. Under the agreement, Akhorli and Kitano’s company were 50-50 partners.

In December of that year Akhorli entered into a 50-50 agreement with another person to open the same MRI facility. The new partner was unaware at the time of Kitano’s involvement. By the end of January, the new partner was having seconds thoughts about the deal.

The relationship continued to deteriorate until the new partner began looking to sell but was unable to get Akhorli to sell his share. Around the same time, Akhorli was sued by an investor in another MRI facility and as a result of the judgment, the Long Beach MRI facility was seized and shut down. In subsequent court papers, Kitano claimed that ING rather than Akhorli was the co-owner of the Long Beach facility.

Learning for the first time of ING’s involvement, the new partner sued to get her money back. The court found Kitano liable for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud by concealment, fraud by intentional misrepresentation and a violation of the Uniform Transfer Act and awarded damages. An appeals court later reversed the trial court’s decision pertaining to breach of fiduciary duty but upheld the remaining findings.

Kitano’s multiple acts of wrongdoing harmed the new partner, who lost a considerable portion of her life savings. He had no prior record of discipline and entered into a pretrial stipulation with the State Bar.

RODGER B. HAGLUND II [#216427], 47, of Abilene, Texas, was disbarred Feb. 4, 2017 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court and make restitution.

Haglund did not comply with the terms of his disciplinary probation by, among other things, failing to pay $48,272.31 in restitution to nine clients, contact the Office of Probation within 30 days from the effective date of discipline to schedule a meeting, submit a quarterly report to probation or attend State Bar Ethics School.

Haglund was previously suspended for collecting an illegal fee and failing to perform legal services with competence, return unearned fees, render an accounting for advanced fees or obey a court order.

He had one other record of discipline and entered into a pretrial stipulation with the State Bar. He was ordered to pay the previously ordered restitution plus interest.

JEROME DONALD HANDLEY [#219910], 48, of San Jose, was disbarred Feb. 4, 2017 and ordered to pay restitution and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Handley failed to perform legal services with competence by not filing a petition in a probate matter on behalf of his client, promptly responding to his client’s inquiries about his case, returning his client’s papers and property or returning unearned fees.

He was disbarred after his default was entered for failing to respond to a notice of disciplinary charges. Because he did not seek to have the default set aside or vacated within 90 days as required under the State Bar’s Rules of Procedure, he was disbarred and the charges against him deemed admitted.

He was ordered to pay $1,000 plus interest in restitution.

WALTER RYAN HAYBERT [#257224], 41, of Los Angeles, was disbarred Feb. 4, 2017 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Haybert has been ineligible to practice law since February 2016 after a misdemeanor conviction for violating a protective order. Despite a restraining order requiring him to stay at least 100 feet away from his ex-wife, he entered her home. When she asked him to leave, he refused. Officers later found him on a hill about 80 feet away from the house. He admitted he had been drinking and said he thought the restraining order applied to another address.

Haybert failed to respond to a notice of hearing on conviction and his default was entered. He did not seek to have the default set aside within 90 days as required under the State Bar’s Rules of Procedure so the State Bar moved to disbar him.

CHARLES CONRAD LOBELLO [#136597], 57, of Las Vegas, was disbarred Feb. 4, 2017 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

LoBello was convicted of felony tax evasion. On Jan. 18, 2006, LoBello knowingly filed a false joint U.S. Individual Form 1040 tax return for the tax year 2002. He claimed he had a taxable income of $46,367 and tax liability of $5,756. That year, he had a true taxable income of approximately $375,957 and liability of $115,879.

Although he pleaded guilty to just one count, LoBello was initially charged with five counts of filing a tax return and five counts of tax evasion and owed the government $260,625.

He had no prior record of discipline and entered into a pretrial stipulation with the State Bar.

DEBRA RAWLS PRICOLA [#178152], 65, of Ventura, was disbarred Feb. 4, 2017 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Pricola was charged with falsely reporting under penalty of perjury she had completed her Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) requirements when she had not and failing to cooperate in a disciplinary investigation.

Pricola was disbarred after her default was entered for failing to respond to a notice of disciplinary charges. Because she did not seek to have the default set aside or vacated within 90 days as required under the State Bar’s Rules of Procedure, she was disbarred and the charges against her deemed admitted.

ROBERT G. SCURRAH JR. [#82766], 69, of Tustin, was disbarred Feb. 4, 2017 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Scurrah was charged with not filing a declaration of compliance with rule 9.20 as required by the California Supreme Court. The requirement stemmed from an earlier suspension for collecting upfront fees in nine loan modification matters.The State Bar Court found that Scurrah repeatedly violated a 2009 consumer protection law that prohibits advanced fees for those services.

He was disbarred after his default was entered for failing to respond to a notice of disciplinary charges. Because he did not seek to have the default set aside or vacated within 90 days, the State Bar moved to disbar him under its Rules of Procedure. The charges were deemed admitted.

THOMAS SCOTT SIMONS [#226484], 49, of Plano, Texas, was disbarred Feb. 4, 2017 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Simons failed to comply with the terms of his disciplinary probation by not contacting the Office of Probation within 30 days of the effective date of his suspension to schedule a meeting, submitting six quarterly and a final report to probation or attend ethics training.

He was previously suspended for failing to file a declaration of compliance with rule 9.20 following an earlier suspension for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law and committing acts of moral turpitude. Simons deliberately held himself out as an attorney and worked on a San Mateo County divorce case when he knew he was not entitled to practice.

He entered into a pretrial stipulation with the State Bar.

CHRISTOPHER JOHN VAN SON [#133440], 55, of Oak View, was disbarred Feb. 4, 2017 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Van Son did not file a declaration of compliance with rule 9.20 by deadline. He was required to file the declaration following his suspension for failing to submit quarterly reports to probation on time, take six hours of Minimum Continuing Legal Education or attend ethics and trust accounting school.

He was also suspended in 2012. He cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation and submitted good character declarations from three attorneys.

RACHELLE SHALOM VISCONTE [#182158], 45, of Rancho Santa Margarita, was disbarred Feb. 4, 2017 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Visconte’s disbarment stemmed from two criminal convictions. In one matter, she was convicted of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. In the second, she was convicted of making/passing a fictitious check, burglary, possession of a completed check with intent to defraud and identity theft.

Visconte was disbarred after her default was entered for failing to respond to a notice of hearing. Because she did not seek to have the default set aside or vacated as required under the State Bar’s Rules of Procedure, she was disbarred and the charges against her deemed admitted.

ALEXANDRA R. EPAND [#191733], 46, of Charlotte, N.C., was disbarred Feb. 10, 2017 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court and make restitution.

Epand engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in North Carolina, where she was not licensed, accepting a $2,500 fee for her services. She was ordered to pay $2,500 plus interest in restitution.

Epand was disbarred after her default was entered for failing to appear at trial in her discipline case. Because she did not seek to have the default set aside or vacated within 45 days as required under the State Bar’s Rules of Procedure, she was disbarred and the charges deemed admitted.

JAMES LYSTON EVERTTS [#147768], 72, of Campbell, was disbarred Feb. 10, 2017 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court and make restitution.

In one matter, he misappropriated $425,000 of his client’s funds and stopped working on the client’s trust matter. He failed to respond to status inquiries from a beneficiary of the trust, take steps to avoid foreseeable prejudice to his client, maintain a balance of $530,034.97 on behalf of his client, respond to letters from the State Bar or notify the State Bar of his change of address when he vacated his office.

In another matter, Evertts charged and collected an illegal fee of $8,900 in advance of a probate court order, improperly withdrew from employment, misappropriated $338.88 in client funds, and failed to perform legal services with competence. He also did not promptly respond to his client’s status inquiries, return unearned fees, maintain client funds in his trust account, cooperate with a disciplinary investigation or update his membership address. Evertts was disbarred after his default was entered for failing to respond to two notices of disciplinary charges. Because he did not seek to have the default set aside or vacated within 90 days as required under the State Bar’s Rules of Procedure, he was disbarred and the charges against him deemed admitted.

He was ordered to pay $434,238.88 plus interest in restitution.

GERALD WILLIAM FILICE [#99657], 60, of Sacramento, was disbarred Feb. 10, 2017 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

The same State Bar Court hearing judge found Filice culpable of misconduct in what were his third and fourth discipline cases in a span of five years. The Office of Chief Trial Counsel sought review in one matter, while Filice sought review in the other.

A three-judge review panel upheld the culpability findings and the hearing judge’s disbarment recommendation noting that “given Filice’s discipline history and his repeated violations of disciplinary orders, the risk is high he will commit future misconduct.”

In one matter, Filice failed to maintain client funds in trust or cooperate with a State Bar investigation. A longtime friend had hired Filice to register two companies with the Secretary of State for a flat fee of $1,180. Shortly after, Filice filed articles of incorporation for each company and issued four checks from his client trust account but, before the checks cleared, he made several withdrawals from the account and two of the checks bounced. When the State Bar notified Filice about the negative balance in his client trust account and repeatedly asked for a response, he failed to do provide one.

In the other matter, Filice violated terms of his disciplinary probation by failing to meet deadlines for submitting a quarterly report to probation by deadline, filing a client funds certificate and providing proof of having attended ethics and client trust accounting schools.

Filice engaged in multiple probation violations and showed indifference or lack of insight into his misconduct.

LAWRENCE ALLAN MOY [#164060], 50, of Irvine, was disbarred Feb. 10, 2017 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court and make restitution.

Moy engaged in misconduct in five personal injury cases. In one, he failed to maintain $33,333 in settlement funds in his client trust account, instead misappropriating the money. He also failed to give his client an accounting of $50,000 in settlement proceeds or promptly pay client funds.

In another matter, he failed to maintain $6,666 in client settlement proceeds in his trust account, negligently misappropriating the money. He failed to provide an accounting of $10,000 in settlement proceeds, promptly pay client funds, release a client’s file or provide a substantive response to two letters from the State Bar.

In a third matter, he failed to communicate with his client or inform the client of significant developments.

In a fourth matter, Moy engaged in moral turpitude by issuing five checks drawn on his client trust account knowing there were insufficient funds to cover them, commingled personal funds in his client trust account, used his trust account to pay personal expenses and failed to promptly update his membership address.

In the fifth matter, he failed to maintain $4,300 in his client trust account, misappropriating the money, and failed to promptly pay settlement funds to his client.

In all five of the matters, he did not respond to letters from the State Bar inquiring about the allegations against him.

Moy was disbarred after his default was entered for failing to respond to a notice of disciplinary charges. He did not seek to have the default set aside or vacated within 90 days as required by the State Bar’s Rules of Procedure so the State Bar moved to disbar him. The charges were deemed admitted.

He was ordered to pay $48,649 plus interest in restitution.

DAVID Q. MEYER [#287761], 36, of San Diego, was disbarred Feb. 19, 2017 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court and make restitution.

Meyer’s misconduct stemmed from his involvement in 2015 with Ford & Weinberg, an escrow company that assists with financial transactions. Meyer was the company’s escrow agent and agreed to accept escrow funds on behalf of the company by placing them in his client trust account. In each of the five matters Meyer was disciplined for, the complainant was seeking a standby letter of credit in the amount of $3 million. If no standby letter of credit was received within a certain time period, the money was supposed to be returned to the complainant.

Rather than review the terms of the escrow agreement, Meyer relied on a non-attorney employee of Ford & Weinberg for guidance. At the company’s direction, Meyer transferred the complainants’ money in all five matters, even though no standby letters of credit were issued. Ford & Weinberg stopped responding to emails and letters and, in December 2015, took down its website.

In all five matters, Meyer breached his fiduciary duties by not maintaining the complainants’ funds in his client trust account or in escrow and misappropriated and failed to maintain entrusted funds.

He was ordered to pay $319,946 plus interest in restitution.

Meyer engaged in multiple acts of misconduct, was unable to account for entrusted funds, demonstrated indifference to his misconduct and deprived the individuals depositing their funds into his escrow of their money.

He entered into a pretrial stipulation with the State Bar.

. Caution!  More than 200,000 attorneys are eligible to practice law in California. Many attorneys share the same names. All discipline reports are taken from State Bar Court documents and should be read carefully for names, ages, addresses and bar numbers. Read the Discipline Key for an explanation of common disciplinary terms. Use Attorney Search to check an attorney's official bar record.