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Disbarments
  1. DIANE BERNADETTE CAREY
  2. NANCY BEHR MARMOL
  3. DIONNE MATEOS
  4. KIMBERLY L. MCALPIN
  5. AARON MICHAEL ELLIS
  6. ROBERT FRANCIS GRAHAM
  7. FRANCIS ARTHUR JONES
  8. CHRISTINE M. SEYLER
  9. JON A. DIVENS
  10. LAWRENCE R. YOUNG
  11. ULYSSES LAFOY COOK JR.
  12. JASON R. WALSH
  13. GREGORY SCOTT EMERSON
  14. SUNG I. OH
  15. MARK STEVEN BROWN
  16. MARK HAYWOOD GALYEAN
  17. SAMUEL SAENZ PRENDEZ JR.
  18. MARTA KEMPTON 

DIANE BERNADETTE CAREY [#171543], 54, of Los Angeles was disbarred Oct. 19, 2013 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

The State Bar Court found that Carey commingled personal funds and failed to maintain client funds in her client trust account, committed moral turpitude by misappropriating client funds and writing checks against insufficient funds, and failed to report judicial sanctions or obey court orders.

At the time the misconduct occurred, Carey had been practicing law in low-income areas of Los Angeles, providing defense of eviction cases at a reduced cost to people who might not otherwise be able to afford a lawyer. Carey also ran a nonprofit to rescue stray dogs that had shelters in the United States and Mexico. On some occasions, she resorted to using funds from her client trust account, her general operating bank account, and even a client’s money, to cover the costs of running her nonprofit.

Among other questionable practices, Carey would generate short-term funds for her nonprofit by writing checks on her general operating account, despite the fact that there were not sufficient funds in the account at the time, and then would deposit those checks into her client trust account. Because of the bank’s courtesy policy, she was able to quickly withdraw cash from her client trust account before the bank learned there were insufficient funds to back up the deposited check, and would then use that cash to pay the foundation’s expenses.

In one matter for which she was sanctioned, Carey failed to show up for a client’s child support hearing, which led the judge to order her to pay $1,250 in sanctions. As of the date of the disbarment decision she had not paid any of the sanctions. In another matter, she failed to show up for a case management conference or provide related documents, leading a judge to sanction her $1,200. Carey did not report either of the sanction orders to the State Bar.

Carey has been disciplined on two prior occasions. In 2000, she was privately reproved for conduct, including commingling personal funds in her client trust account and issuing checks on her client trust account despite insufficient funds. In 2005, she received a two-year stayed suspension for misconduct including repeated acts of commingling her personal funds in her client trust account, and bouncing checks written on her client trust account.

NANCY BEHR MARMOL [#87790], 67, of San Francisco was disbarred Oct. 19, 2013, ordered to pay restitution and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Marmol stipulated to misconduct in eight client matters, most of which involved her failure to respond to client inquiries or take action in clients’ cases. In one client matter, she failed to perform legal services with competence by not appearing at trial and failed to file trial briefs or sign a substitution of attorney. She also failed to return a client file and did not respond to numerous email messages in which her client asked for an update on his case. In another matter, she misappropriated $15,000 in client funds that had been provided to her as advanced fees. Marmol also misappropriated $10,700 in funds that came from the sale of a home tied to a family law matter she handled.

Marmol was ordered to pay $20,170 plus interest in restitution.

DIONNE MATEOS [#205959], 42, of Whittier was disbarred Oct. 19, 2013 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court and pay restitution.

Mateos stipulated to misconduct in 10 client matters involving loan modification work, including commiting acts of moral turpitude, collecting advanced fees for loan modification work and failing to cooperate and participate in a disciplinary investigation, perform legal services with competence or return unearned fees.

In mitigation, Mateos entered into a pre-trial stipulation. She was ordered to pay $21,200 plus interest in restitution.

Mateos has two prior records of discipline. In 2011, she stipulated to failing to perform competently, to account, release a file, respond to client inquiries, cooperate in a State Bar investigation, obey court orders or return unearned fees. The misconduct, which resulted in a one-year stayed suspension and one year of probation, involved six separate client matters, most of which involved her representation of clients related to loan modification and bankruptcy services.

In 2013, she stipulated to two years of actual suspension for improper withdrawal and failing to perform competently, refund unearned fees, to account, cooperate and participate in State Bar investigation, or respond to client inquiries. She also collected advanced fees for loan modification work. The misconduct involved four client matters, and the majority of the cases involved loan modifications.

KIMBERLY L. MCALPIN [#124814], 53, of Manhattan Beach was disbarred Oct. 19, 2013 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

McAlpin was disbarred after her default was entered when she failed to appear at trial on Sept. 14, 2013. Under rule 5.83 of the State Bar’s Rules of Procedure, the State Bar can disbar a lawyer if he or she does not seek to have the default set aside within 90 days. Also, the charges are deemed admitted.

The underlying discipline in McAlpin’s case stems from a misdemeanor conviction for driving on a revoked license. She also violated a court order by not complying with rule 9.20 as required by a 2011 disciplinary order.

McAlpin’s earlier discipline was a suspension resulting from three DUI convictions.

AARON MICHAEL ELLIS [#248862], 33, of Whittier was disbarred Oct. 25, 2013 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Ellis stipulated to misconduct in three client matters including committing an act of moral turpitude, violating rule 9.20, filing a false 9.20 affidavit and failing to perform competent legal services, take reasonable steps to avoid reasonably foreseeable prejudice to his client, or render appropriate accounts to a client.

In one matter, Ellis represented a client in an uncontested divorce case, filing paperwork with the court to complete the dissolution case, which was returned due to several deficiencies. Ellis told the client he had fixed the problem when he hadn’t, then closed his law practice in March 2012 without having completed the case. Ellis also failed to provide the client with an accounting for the fees he received.

Ellis also committed misconduct while representing the co-owners of a construction company in a civil case filed against them. Ellis failed to tell his clients about a pivotal court hearing in the case, even though their testimony was critical to the defense, and the trial had to go on without them. The court ultimately entered a judgment against the owners totaling $17,391.97.

Ellis also did not meet the requirements of a 2012 disciplinary order because he did not comply with rule 9.20. The underlying discipline, for which he received a six-month actual suspension, was for 13 acts of misconduct in five client matters between August 2011 and February 2012. It included failures to refund unearned fees, account for client funds, perform legal services competently or communicate with his clients.

ROBERT FRANCIS GRAHAM [#76589], 63, of Chula Vista was disbarred Oct. 25, 2013 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Graham was disbarred after his default was entered for failing to respond to allegations that he failed to comply with rule 9.20 as required by a 2011 disciplinary order. Because he made no effort to have the default set aside within 180 days, as required by rule 5.85 of the bar’s Rules of Procedure, he was disbarred and the charges against him were deemed admitted.

Graham was disciplined in 2011 for depositing or commingling funds belonging to him in his client trust account and failing to provide legal services with competence,  cooperate in a disciplinary investigation,  provide an accounting to a client or comply with rule 9.20 on time. He was previously suspended in 2010 for not complying with the terms of a 2008 disciplinary order. The 2008 discipline was for seven counts of misconduct in a breach-of-contract action in which he represented a couple: failures to perform legal services competently, keep clients informed about developments in their case, communicate with clients, account for their funds, return a client file or cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

FRANCIS ARTHUR JONES [#204596], 48, of Long Beach was disbarred Oct. 25, 2013 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court and pay restitution.

Jones was disbarred after his default was entered for failing to respond to the notice of disciplinary charges filed against him. Rule 5.85 of the State Bar’s Rules of Procedure allows an attorney to be disbarred if he or she does not seek to have the default set aside with 180 days.

The charges were deemed admitted: Jones failed to perform with competence, refund unearned fees, release a file or cooperate in a State Bar investigation. All of the misconduct stemmed from one client matter. Jones was ordered to pay $250 plus interest in restitution.

CHRISTINE M. SEYLER [#171755], 52, of Garden Grove was disbarred Oct. 25, 2013 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

The State Bar Court found Seyler culpable of willfully violating rule 9.20, with which she was required to comply as a result of a 2011 disciplinary order. In the underlying matter, Seyler received an actual six-month suspension for misdemeanor criminal convictions for a hit-and-run accident with property damage, driving under the influence of alcohol with a prior and driving under the influence of alcohol.

JON A. DIVENS [#145549], 58, of Beverly Hills was disbarred Oct. 26, 2013 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court and pay restitution.

Divens was found culpable of three counts of misconduct involving moral turpitude that stemmed from two separate securities matters. In 2009, Divens was hired to act as the escrow agent to hold a collateralized mortgage obligation (CMO) while its sale was being carried out. Although he was not given the power to do so, Divens invested the CMO into a trading program, misappropriated the interest it generated for his own personal use and then surreptitiously transferred the CMO to prevent the owner from locating it. The sale did not ultimately go through.

In the other matter, Divens breached his fiduciary duties as an escrow agent when he failed to return a CMO to the company that owned it, as well as misappropriated approximately $157,444 of the interest payments earned on the CMO.

In mitigation, Divens had no prior discipline in 18 years of practicing law. He was ordered to pay $399,424.83 plus interest in restitution.

LAWRENCE R. YOUNG [#38323], 74, of Los Angeles was disbarred Oct. 26, 2013 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court and pay restitution.

The State Bar Court found Young culpable of five counts of misconduct in two client matters that occurred at a time when he was suspended from the practice of law. As a condition of his suspension, Young was required to give clients notice of his suspension pursuant to rule 9.20. Believing he had a way to avoid complying with the rule, Young hired a contract attorney to substitute into all of his active cases predating his suspension. Although Young had 45 years’ experience practicing law, the contract attorney, who was relatively new to practicing law, later claimed that he would assign tasks to Young to perform on cases and monitor his performance of those tasks.

In one of the client matters, Young committed moral turpitude by filing a misleading and false affidavit of compliance with rule 9.20 and failing to render an appropriate accounting to his client or his client’s mother. In the other matter for which he was disciplined, Young filed a false and misleading rule 9.20 affidavit, failed to return unearned fees and accepted fees from a non-client.

Young was ordered to pay $2,560 plus interest in restitution. In mitigation, he cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation and has done extensive charitable work.

Young has a record of five prior disciplinary actions. In 1989, he was suspended based on a felony conviction for being an accessory to a felony. In 1991, he was suspended after he was found to have committed moral turpitude by misappropriating a client’s settlement funds.

He was suspended again in 1993 after stipulating to failing to act competently and in 2010 following a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol.

ULYSSES LAFOY COOK JR. [#68779], 67, of Los Angeles was disbarred Oct. 19, 2013 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Cook was disbarred after his default was entered for failing to respond to charges that he violated the conditions of his disciplinary probation by not complying with rule 9.20. Cook did not seek to have the default set aside within 180 days, which allowed for his disbarment. The charges were deemed admitted.

In the underlying discipline, Cook failed to obey a court order and failed to promptly pay funds to a lien holder in one client matter.

JASON R. WALSH [#158471], 46, of Riverside was disbarred Oct. 19, 2013 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Walsh’s default was entered in 2012 after he failed to respond to the notice of disciplinary charges filed against him. Because he made no effort to vacate the default within 180 days, the State Bar moved to disbar him, and the charges were deemed admitted.

Walsh failed to comply with the conditions of his 2011 suspension following his conviction for possession of assault weapon, possession of a controlled substance and being under the influence of a controlled substance. Walsh was also disciplined in 2010, following a default proceeding in which the State Bar Court found that Walsh violated 13 terms of a 2007 public reproval imposed following a conviction for driving under the influence with a prior. Among other things, he filed three quarterly probation reports late, failed to undergo a substance abuse evaluation or attend ethics school and did not comply with addiction treatment conditions.

GREGORY SCOTT EMERSON [#205053], 74, of Studio City was disbarred Oct. 26, 2013 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court and pay sanctions.

Emerson was disbarred after his default was entered for failing to respond to a notice of disciplinary charges filed against him for failing to obey court order, report judicial sanctions or cooperate or participate in a disciplinary investigation. He was disbarred under rule 5.85 of the State Bar Rules of Procedure because he did not move to have the default set aside within 180 days.

Emerson was ordered to pay $1,500 sanctions imposed by the Orange County Superior Court on Aug. 11, 2011.

SUNG I. OH [#201634], 49, of West Covina was disbarred Nov. 1, 2013 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Oh was disbarred after his default was entered when he did not respond to a notice of disciplinary charges filed against him for failing to comply with rule 9.20. He was disbarred under rule 5.85 of the State Bar’s Rules of Procedure because he did not move to have the default set aside within 180 days.

Oh was suspended in 2011 after being disciplined by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for professional misconduct. Oh had an agreement with the Patent Trademark Institute of America, PTI, a firm that paid him flat fees for referrals. He represented hundreds of referred inventors, but did not disclose that he had a relationship with an entity that would be affected by his representation.

MARK STEVEN BROWN [#225511], 48, of Los Alamitos was disbarred Nov. 1, 2013 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Brown was charged with 13 counts of misconduct but failed to respond to the disciplinary charges against him, and his default was entered. The State Bar filed a petition to disbar him under rule 5.85 of the State Bar’s Rules of Procedure.

Brown was found culpable of 12 of the charges. In one matter, Brown failed to perform legal services with competence by failing to respond to discovery requests, which resulted in the dismissal of the client’s case. He also improperly withdrew from employment and failed to communicate, render appropriate accounts of client funds, return client property or cooperate with the disciplinary investigation.

In another client matter, Brown violated a court order and failed to notify a client of receipt of client funds, promptly pay client funds, provide his client with an accounting of the client settlement funds, communicate with his client or cooperate with a State Bar investigator.

Brown has one prior record of discipline. In 2011, he was suspended for failing to perform legal services competently, render appropriate accounts to a client, return unearned fees, respond to a client’s reasonable status inquiries, release a client file upon termination of employment or cooperate and participate in a State Bar investigation pending against him.

MARK HAYWOOD GALYEAN [#220617], 45, of San Pedro was disbarred Nov. 1, 2013 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Galyean was disbarred after his default was entered for failing to respond to disciplinary charges brought against him for failing to comply with several conditions attached to his prior public reproval. He was disbarred under rule 5.85 of the State Bar’s Rules of Procedure because he did not move to have the default set aside within 180 days.

Galyean was suspended in 2012 after stipulating to three counts of misconduct in two matters. He violated the terms of the 2011 public reproval by failing to contact the State Bar probation office by the deadline, submit one quarterly report on time or make restitution.

In a misdemeanor traffic case, he did not account for his client’s advanced fees or return her file for six months after the client canceled his services.

The earlier public reproval was for failing to return unearned fees or promptly return the client’s file upon his termination from employment.

SAMUEL SAENZ PRENDEZ JR. [#249192], 35, of Sacramento was disbarred Nov. 1, 2013 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Prendez was disbarred after his default was entered for failing to respond to disciplinary charges filed following four criminal convictions. Because he made no effort to vacate the default within 180 days, as required by rule 5.85 of the bar’s Rules of Procedure, he was disbarred and the charges were deemed admitted.

Prendez was convicted of: obstructing a utility line, resisting arrest, misdemeanor battery, disobeying a court order and reckless driving while under the influence of alcohol.

In one of the cases, Prendez retaliated against his neighbors who had filed a noise complaint against him by shutting off their utilities, including their power, telephone access, air conditioning and water. He was later evicted from the apartment and then violated a restraining order by coming within 30 feet of his former neighbors’ apartment.

MARTA KEMPTON [#129035], 58, of Orinda was summarily disbarred Oct. 25, 2013 and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.
Kempton pleaded no contest in 2012 to insurance fraud. Because the crime is a felony involving moral turpitude, it meets the criteria for summary disbarment. 

. 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.