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Disbarments
  1. ALI ELIAHO GALAM
  2. NICHOLAS OLIVER HEDDING
  3. BRUCE GORDON JONES
  4. KERRINGTON FERNARDO OSBORNE
  5. CHARLES VICTOR STEBLEY
  6. MICHAEL STEPHEN KEREKES
  7. JOSEPH CARLYE BARRERA
  8. JAEFFREY JACK ARTZ
  9. DANIEL DUCHANIN
  10. FRANCISCO SALAZAR NOGALES
  11. MICHAEL T. PINES
  12. HARLAN ROY ANTLER
  13. LUCIO GASCON CALUNGCAGIN JR.
  14. DAVIDSOON YOUNG LEE
  15. LAURIE CRAIN RIGG
  16. DAVID PAUL SCHWARTZ
  17. TUAN THANH TRAN
  18. THERESA MARIE ERICKSON
  19. MARY ANN MULLEN NAGY
  20. DEBORAH JOY PIMENTAL
  21. MELCHOR EDUARDO QUEVEDO
  22. AMOS MERRILL TRIPP 

ALI ELIAHO GALAM [#123778], 53, of Murrieta was disbarred Nov. 8, 2012, and was ordered to make restitution and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Galam stipulated that he misappropriated $32,267 from a couple who hired him to handle their personal injury claims. The couple suffered injuries after a bus in which they were passengers was hit by another vehicle. Galam represented the pair on a contingency fee basis.

He settled the cases with the insurance carrier and received two checks totaling $48,400 that he deposited in his client trust account. Although he was required to maintain $32,267 in his trust account, he allowed the balance to fall to $8,458.12 at one point and eventually to zero. Galam closed his trust account less than a year after settling his clients’ claims. He did not pay their medical liens.

Galam did not inform the clients that he’d received their settlement funds and he never accounted for the money. The misappropriation constituted moral turpitude.

In mitigation, he had no prior discipline record in 25 years of practice and he cooperated with the bar’s investigation.

NICHOLAS OLIVER HEDDING [#227160], 38, of Winnetka was disbarred Nov. 8, 2012, and was ordered to make restitution and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Hedding stipulated to misconduct in 10 matters. Five involved loan modifications in California and three other states where he was not licensed to practice, and four involved personal injury matters in which he allowed employees to misappropriate client funds.

Hedding owned and operated American Law Firm (ALF). In four cases, clients hired him on a contingency fee basis to handle their personal injury claims. In each case, he received but did not deposit settlement funds in his client trust account and allowed his employees to misappropriate the funds, thus committing acts of moral turpitude. In two of the matters, he did not inform his clients that settlement offers had been made and he allowed his employees to sign his clients’ names on release forms without their consent, again committing acts of moral turpitude.

In total, he allowed his employees to misappropriate $152,166 from the clients.

In the loan modification matters, he represented clients in Washington, Idaho and Oklahoma, as well as California. He engaged in the unauthorized practice of law and collected illegal fees in two states, and in all the cases he violated a California law that prohibits attorneys from collecting advance fees for loan modification work before performing any services.

In the final case, Hedding collected an advance fee in an order to show cause matter but did not attend the hearing and did not refund the fee.

Hedding was ordered to reimburse a total of $162,811 plus interest to clients, several medical providers and an insurance company. He was disciplined in June 2012 after stipulating to 37 counts of misconduct in 17 matters, many involving loan modifications, some undertaken in states where Hedding is not licensed to practice.

BRUCE GORDON JONES [#43448], 71, of Oxnard was disbarred Nov. 8, 2012, and was ordered to  make restitution and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Jones was suspended and placed on probation in 2011 but did not comply with probation conditions. He did not file four quarterly probation reports or submit proof that he made restitution, completed ethics school or passed the MPRE.

According to the stipulation, disbarment is warranted if an attorney has a record of two prior disciplines. In the underlying matter, Jones stipulated to six counts of misconduct in two matters, including failures to perform legal services competently, respond to a client’s status requests, refund an unearned fee or return a client file, and he disobeyed a court order. He also was publicly reproved in 1992 for misdemeanor dissuading a witness from prosecuting a crime. In mitigation, Jones cooperated with the bar by entering into a stipulated settlement of the disciplinary charges.

KERRINGTON FERNARDO OSBORNE [#146539], 50, of Redlands was disbarred Nov. 8, 2012, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Osborne was placed on interim suspension March 9, 2011, following a conviction for grand theft, a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude. As part of that discipline, he was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 by notifying his clients, opposing counsel and other interested parties of his suspension from practice. When he did not comply with the rule, he was charged with violating a court order. He failed to respond to the charges against him or participate in discipline proceedings and his default was entered.

Under rule 5.85 of the bar’s Rules of Procedure, any attorney who makes no effort to have the default set aside within 180 days is subject to disbarment. Osborne did not move to have his default vacated and is now disbarred.

The grand theft conviction was the result of Osborne’s attempt to cash an altered $1,710 check in his name. The check originally was made payable to another person in the amount of $117.80.

CHARLES VICTOR STEBLEY [#158219], 67, of El Dorado Hills was disbarred Nov. 8, 2012, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Stebley was charged in 2011 with 18 counts of misconduct but when he failed to respond to the charges his default was entered. Under rule 5.85 of the bar’s Rules of Procedure, any attorney who makes no effort to have the default set aside within 180 days is subject to disbarment. The State Bar noted in its petition that Stebley has six other disciplinary matters pending, as well as 11 claims for reimbursement from the Client Security Fund. He also was disciplined in 2011 for misconduct in three client matters. His default was entered when he failed to appear at trial.

The latest charges against him are deemed proven. They include: failures to maintain client funds in trust, perform legal services competently, keep clients informed of developments in their cases or communicate with clients, misappropriation of $4,361, withdrawing from representation without protecting his clients’ interests, writing checks against insufficient funds and committing acts of moral turpitude. He was ordered to make restitution totaling $11,789.

MICHAEL STEPHEN KEREKES [#130267], 50, of Santa Monica was summarily disbarred Nov. 8, 2012, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Kerekes pleaded guilty in 2009 to federal conspiracy charges involving attempted evasion of income taxes, making a false income tax return, aiding in the preparation of false tax returns and trying to obstruct the administration of internal revenue laws. He was placed on interim suspension July 17, 2009.

Because conspiracy is a felony involving moral turpitude, Kerekes was subject to summary disbarment.

JOSEPH CARLYE BARRERA [#219583], 47, of Santa Cruz was summarily disbarred Nov. 23, 2012, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Barrera pleaded no contest to two counts of forgery in 2011. Because the offenses are felonies involving moral turpitude, they meet the criteria for summary disbarment. He has been on interim suspension since Feb. 27, 2012.

Barrera also was placed on interim suspension in April 2012 after a conviction for felony possession of methamphetamine.

JAEFFREY JACK ARTZ [#163141], 59, of Santa Fe Springs was disbarred Nov. 16, 2012, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Artz failed to comply with a rule 9.20 requirement in a 2010 disciplinary order; failure to comply with the rule is grounds for disbarment. Although Artz had appealed the State Bar Court hearing judge’s findings and recommendation, the court’s review department went forward with the disbarment. It rejected Artz’ assertion that his due process rights were violated because he did not receive the disciplinary order, his claims of an equal protection violation and charges that the judge was biased.

In the underlying matter, Artz stipulated in 2010 that he failed to perform legal services competently in eight matters, he commingled funds and was disbarred by the Ninth Circuit in 2009. Artz filed a required affidavit stating that he notified his clients, opposing counsel and other interested parties of his suspension more than a month late.

Artz said he learned about the rule 9.20 requirement after his suspension order but the review judges said he was aware of the order earlier. Instead of contacting the bar, the review panel wrote, “he left on an extended trip to Canada after stopping for four or five days in Fresno, where he appeared in Superior Court on behalf of a client on Oct. 15 (2010) knowing his suspension was in effect on that date.”

Artz took no steps to have someone monitor his mail during his absence and he did not contact the bar or the Supreme Court to clarify his disciplinary status. By his own admission, he spent the month of November, after his return from Canada, watching television.

The review department also said Artz’ appearance in a Fresno court amounted to the unauthorized practice of law and it found his “indifference to his professional responsibilities” as an additional aggravating factor. The judges rejected three mitigating factors found by the hearing judge; they found no mitigation.

DANIEL DUCHANIN [#189983], 49, of Oklahoma City, was disbarred Nov. 16, 2012, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Duchanin failed to comply with probation conditions attached to a 2010 disciplinary order and his default was entered in 2011. Under rule 5.85 of the State Bar’s Rules of Procedure, if any attorney does not respond to disciplinary charges and move to have his default vacated within 180 days, he can be disbarred.

In the underlying discipline, the State Bar Court found that Duchanin committed misconduct in five matters, including failures to perform legal services competently, inform his client of a significant development, obey a court order, refund unearned fees, release a client file, account for client funds or deposit client funds in a trust account. He also improperly withdrew from employment.

Although Duchanin advised the bar that he intended to resign, he was nonetheless required to answer the charges against him.

FRANCISCO SALAZAR NOGALES [#212819], 58, of Newhall was disbarred Nov. 16, 2012, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Nogales stipulated to eight counts of misconduct in three client matters, all involving his failure to obtain loan modifications for his clients. He was ordered to make restitution totaling $24,300.

Nogales worked as a consultant for the city of Los Angeles for seven years and when he lost his job, he answered an advertisement on Craigslist seeking an attorney “for foreclosure relief.” He also had worked for a short time at Advantage Tax Relief (ATR), a company that represented debtors in negotiated settlements of state and federal income tax arrearages and tax liens. Nogales purchased ATR for about $100 and joined a group of non-lawyers offering foreclosure services, calling his practice Nogales Law Center (NLC). ATR and NLC operated separately but were in offices next door to one another.

Within a few months, NLC was signing up more than 30 new clients per week but after receiving complaints about his client intake personnel, Nogales fired many employees and halted his radio advertising.

Clients generally paid a $3,800 fee, of which $1,000 went to a company called “National Association of Mortgage Auditors” (NAMA) which performed a “forensic audit.” Most of the remaining fee was used for marketing services.  Approximately 10-15 percent of the clients received a forensic audit, but Nogales said almost all mortgage loan documents supplied by lenders included errors, most of which were obvious without a NAMA audit. After the forensic loan review, Nogales requested another $5,000 from each client as a “litigation retainer.”

Nogales knew little about loan modifications and eventually shut down ATR without notice to his clients. He also eventually closed NLC and advised his clients they would receive their files, an accounting and a refund within 60 days. That did not happen. No client received a loan modification and Nogales provided virtually no services to the clients who were covered in the stipulation.

In 2011, he admitted misconduct in 42 matters. That stipulation and another reached later in 2011 are pending before the Supreme Court. In the newest case, Nogales stipulated to eight more counts of misconduct in his dealings with three other clients who hired him to obtain a loan modification.

He admitted he failed to perform legal services competently, abandoned clients without taking steps to protect their interests and he violated state law that prohibits attorneys from accepting advance fees for loan modification work.

In mitigation, Nogales stipulated to his disbarment and suffered personal family tragedies that led to depression and alcohol abuse.

MICHAEL T. PINES [#77771], 60, of Carlsbad was disbarred Nov. 16, 2012, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Pines failed to respond to charges of 18 counts of misconduct and his default was entered in August 2011. Under rule 5.85 of the bar’s Rules of Procedure, any attorney who does not respond to disciplinary charges and makes no move to set aside his default within 180 days is subject to disbarment.

The charges were deemed admitted when Pines’ default was entered. They involved his representation of three clients who lost their homes to foreclosure and advising them to retake their former homes by forcibly breaking into them after new owners had taken title.

In the first matter, Pines was charged with committing an act of moral turpitude by threatening the new property owner of his client’s former property, refusing to leave the property when instructed and violating the terms of temporary restraining orders. He failed to perform legal services competently by advising his clients they had a legal right to possess certain property when they did not. He also said the clients had the right to enter their former homes. Pines also made criminal threats and failed to provide respect to the courts.

In the second matter, he was charged with moral turpitude for advising his client to break into his former residence, trespass and aid and abet vandalism.

He helped other clients move back into their former homes, exposing them to civil and criminal liabilities by encouraging them to trespass, ignore police warnings and vandalize property. Pines also was charged with trespass and contempt of court.

Pines was placed on interim suspension last year following a conviction for misdemeanor attempted burglary.

HARLAN ROY ANTLER [#166873], 65, of Sacramento was disbarred Nov. 23, 2012, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Antler did not respond to State Bar charges that he failed to comply with rule 9.20, part of a 2011 disciplinary order. As a result, his default was entered. Under rule 5.85 of the bar’s Rules of Procedure, any attorney who does not respond to disciplinary charges and makes no move to set aside his default within 180 days is subject to disbarment.

In the underlying discipline, Antler stipulated to misconduct in three matters, including failures to perform legal services competently, respond to reasonable status inquiries or return a client file and unearned fees. He also accepted fees from a non-client, did not deposit client funds in a client trust account and did not account for client funds.

In addition to not filing a declaration that he had notified his clients, opposing counsel and other interested parties of his suspension, Antler did not make restitution of his former client’s claim for $54,582, as required by the 2011 disciplinary order.

LUCIO GASCON CALUNGCAGIN JR. [#134519], 64, of Anaheim was disbarred Nov. 23, 2012, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Calungcagin did not respond to State Bar charges that he failed to comply with rule 9.20, part of a 2010 disciplinary order. As a result, his default was entered. Under rule 5.85 of the bar’s Rules of Procedure, any attorney who does not respond to disciplinary charges and makes no move to set aside his default within 180 days is subject to disbarment.

In the underlying discipline, the Supreme Court revoked Calungcagin’s probation from a 2009 case because he failed to comply with three probation conditions. The original discipline was imposed after Calungcagin stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently or deposit two checks totaling more than $6,000 into his client trust account.

In the newest case, Calungcagin did not submit a declaration to the State Bar Court that he had notified his clients, opposing counsel and other interested parties of his suspension. His failure to act violated rule 9.20.

DAVIDSOON YOUNG LEE [#229873], 38, of Los Angeles was disbarred Nov. 23, 2012, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Lee did not respond to State Bar charges in 2011 that he committed 17 counts of misconduct in 11 cases and as a result, his default was entered. Under rule 5.85 of the bar’s Rules of Procedure, any attorney who does not respond to disciplinary charges and makes no move to set aside his default within 180 days is subject to disbarment.

The allegations are deemed admitted and include failures to perform competent legal services, promptly refund unearned fees, return client papers, account for client funds, properly maintain client funds in a trust account or cooperate with the bar’s investigation. Lee committed acts of moral turpitude by making misrepresentations to a client. He also charged an illegal fee, practiced law while suspended, violated court orders and wrote checks against insufficient funds.

He was ordered to make restitution of nearly $44,000.

LAURIE CRAIN RIGG [#145237], 49, of Rolling Hills Estates was disbarred Nov. 23, 2012, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Rigg did not respond to State Bar charges filed in 2011 that she committed 18 counts of misconduct in five cases and as a result, her default was entered. Under rule 5.85 of the bar’s Rules of Procedure, any attorney who does not respond to disciplinary charges and makes no move to set aside her default within 180 days is subject to disbarment.

The allegations are deemed admitted and include charges that Rigg failed to perform legal services competently, return client papers, promptly refund unearned fees or cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

She was ordered to make restitution totaling $5,280 plus 10 percent interest.

DAVID PAUL SCHWARTZ [#45914], 70, of Ojai was disbarred Nov. 23, 2012, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Schwartz did not respond to State Bar charges in 2011 that he failed to comply with rule 9.20, part of a 2010 disciplinary order. As a result, his default was entered. Under rule 5.85 of the bar’s Rules of Procedure, any attorney who does not respond to disciplinary charges and makes no move to set aside his default within 180 days is subject to disbarment.

In the underlying matter, Schwartz failed to comply with the probation conditions of a 2009 disciplinary order imposed when he stipulated that he improperly withdrew from representation and failed to inform his client of significant developments, promptly return the client’s file and failed to cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

In the newest matter, he did not submit a declaration to the State Bar Court that he had notified his clients, opposing counsel and other interested parties of his suspension. His failure to act violated rule 9.20.

TUAN THANH TRAN [#202837], 44, of Irvine was disbarred Nov. 23, 2012, and he was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Tran stipulated to 39 counts of misconduct in 12 personal injury cases. He admitted misappropriating $151,397 from 13 clients and was ordered to make restitution in that amount plus 10 percent interest. Tran settled claims without his clients’ consent, did not place settlement funds in a client trust account and failed to communicate with clients or pay their medical providers. He also made misrepresentations to clients.

In one matter, Tran settled his clients’ claims for $109,000 and told the clients he was negotiating their medical bills when they inquired about the status of their case. In fact, one of the doctors he said he was negotiating with had died. He gave the clients two checks totaling $10,000 and failed to maintain the required balance — $53,000 — in his trust account. Tran used the money for his personal benefit.

He misappropriated $48,000 from another client after settling his claim without his consent. Tran received a $60,000 settlement and was required to maintain $48,000 in his client trust account. He did not give any money to the client, using it instead for his personal benefit.

THERESA MARIE ERICKSON [#197830], 45, of Poway was summarily disbarred Nov. 30, 2012, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Erickson pleaded guilty in 2011 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Because the crime is a felony involving moral turpitude, it meets the criteria for summary disbarment.

She has been on interim suspension since March 2, 2012.

MARY ANN MULLEN NAGY [#171942], 57, of Cheshire, Conn., was disbarred Nov. 30, 2012, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Nagy did not respond to State Bar charges in 2011 that she failed to comply with rule 9.20, part of a 2010 disciplinary order. As a result, her default was entered. Under rule 5.85 of the bar’s Rules of Procedure, any attorney who does not respond to disciplinary charges and makes no move to set aside her default within 180 days is subject to disbarment.

In the underlying discipline, Nagy was in default for failing to comply with the probation conditions of a 2009 private reproval issued for not complying with conditions of an agreement in lieu of discipline and for failing to perform services or communicate with clients.

She did not submit to the State Bar Court an affidavit that she notified her clients, opposing counsel and other interested parties of her suspension.

DEBORAH JOY PIMENTAL [#115182], 57, of San Ramon was disbarred Nov. 30, 2012, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Pimental did not respond to State Bar charges in 2011 that she committed 16 counts of misconduct in six cases and as a result, her default was entered. Under rule 5.85 of the bar’s Rules of Procedure, any attorney who does not respond to disciplinary charges and makes no move to set aside her default within 180 days is subject to disbarment.

The allegations are deemed admitted and include failures to refund unearned fees, pay court-ordered sanctions, report sanctions to the State Bar, communicate with clients, perform legal services competently and keep clients informed of significant developments in their case. She also violated California law by obtaining an advance fees for loan modification services four times, violated court orders, made misrepresentations to the court, and she filed fraudulent petitions with the Bankruptcy Court for the sole purpose of using the proof of electronic filing to forestall foreclosure for her clients. 

Pimental also was ordered to make restitution of almost $20,000 plus 10 percent interest.

MELCHOR EDUARDO QUEVEDO [#103144], 62, of Chula Vista was disbarred Nov. 30, 2012, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Quevedo was terminated from the State Bar’s Alternative Discipline Program for lawyers with substance abuse or mental health issues. He failed to comply with the ADP requirements and thus became subject to a more severe level of discipline. The State Bar Court also found that Quevedo committed additional misconduct, including making misstatements in a declaration he filed with the bar court, making a misrepresentation to a client and failing to refund unearned fees of $15,000 or account for client funds.

He stipulated in 2010 that he committed 17 acts of misconduct in eight matters; he committed acts of moral turpitude by writing checks against insufficient funds, misappropriating client funds and making misrepresentations to a client. He failed to maintain client funds in a trust account, did not cooperate with the bar’s investigation and did not avoid interests adverse to a client.

Quevedo also was ordered to make restitution of almost $40,000 plus 10 percent interest to five clients.

AMOS MERRILL TRIPP [#84036], 69, of Blue Lake was disbarred Nov. 30, 2012, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Tripp stipulated to four counts of misconduct related to practicing law for nearly four years while on inactive status. He was ineligible to practice from 1993-97 because he did not provide proof that he completed his MCLE requirements. During that time, he acted as a general legal counsel for United Indian Health Services, a job he began in 1984.

He never informed the UIHS board or staff that he was ineligible to practice and he gave legal advice and represented himself as a lawyer while on inactive status.

He stipulated that he collected an illegal fee (his salary), held himself out as eligible to practice law when he was not entitled, committed acts of moral turpitude and failed to cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

In mitigation, he had no record of discipline since his 1978 admission to the 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 the different levels of disciplinary action. Use Attorney Search to check an attorney's official bar membership record.