Share

Share this on Twitter Share this on Facebook Share this on Linked In Share this by Email
 
Disbarments
  1. TREZANAY MICHELLE ATKINS
  2. LLOYD DOUGLAS BROWN
  3. DAVID KYLE
  4. AUDREY GAIL OWENS
  5. JAMES MAZI PARSA
  6. JON BENNETT RUBINFIER
  7. CARL JOSEPH SCHWEDLER
  8. DIRK DWIGHT SHARP
  9. JEFFREY DAVID TOCHTERMAN
  10. KATHERINE MELISSA TOWNLEY
  11. DANIEL ISSAC WAGNER
  12. PETER JOHN WHIPPLE
  13. HECTOR ARNOLDO CAVAZOS JR.
  14. MARIO ESTUARDO DIAZ
  15. ARCHER BRYANT HUDSON JR.
  16. LYNNE MARGERY ROMANO
  17. PAUL ERNEST VALLONE
  18. HUGH WALTER BERRY
  19. JOSEPH DECARLO
  20. STEPHEN KENNETH CHRYSLER
  21. ERICA RENAE ARCEO
  22. TATIANA KATERINA LINTON
  23. SAQIB A. ZUBERI
  24. THEODORE SHIN LEE
  25. JOHN KENNETH SAUR
  26. JAGDIP SINGH SEKHON
  27. KEVIN JOHN SENN
  28. JULIA ANN TISCHLER
  29. JENNIFER MICHELE BOZEAT
  30. PATRICK DEAN HOLSTINE
  31. DAVID JAMES LOLA
  32. LAWRENCE TANG MA
  33. CHRISTOPHER RAMOS MACARAEG
  34. ANDREW WILLIAM QUINN
  35. GINO PAUL PIETRO
  36. JOHN CLIFTON ELSTEAD
  37. RICHARD D. ACKERMAN
  38. DANIEL ALAN BERNATH
  39. GENE WOOK CHOE
  40. MICHAEL GREGORY MCCOY
  41. ANGELA ELIZABETH MUELLER
  42. MICHAEL PARRA
  43. LORNA CHRISTINE WASHINGTON

TREZANAY MICHELLE ATKINS [#249968], 35, of Indianapolis, was disbarred June 17, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Atkins was disbarred as a result of a suspension she received in Indiana for criminal conversion while acting in a fiduciary capacity and engaging in conduct involving dishonesty.

In 2011, Atkins joined the Marion County Bar Association, for African American attorneys practicing in the Indianapolis area. She became treasurer in June 2011 and served in that role for about 18 months. As treasurer, she had signatory responsibility over the organization’s checking account and prepared monthly financial reports that were distributed to members. While serving as treasurer, she repeatedly misappropriated the association’s money, falsifying financial reports to cover up the thefts. In total, she took more than $9,100 from the organization. Prior to the imposition of her discipline in Indiana, she repaid the misappropriated funds.

LLOYD DOUGLAS BROWN [#44908], 73, of Encino, was disbarred June 17, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court and make restitution.

Brown appealed a State Bar Court hearing judge’s decision finding him culpable of intentional misappropriation and recommending his disbarment, but a three-judge review panel found the evidence clearly and convincingly supported the judge’s findings.

In May 2012, Brown was asked to serve as escrow agent for a commercial transaction involving a longtime client and tasked with holding $22,500 in escrow. Although he was supposed to wait for authorization, Brown distributed the money to the client and to himself to cover some of the client’s longstanding legal bills. He did not tell the other party that the money was gone and did not respond to requests to return the funds.

Brown later claimed he would repay the missing money plus an additional $5,000 to cover interest but never followed through.

In mitigation, Brown had a long history of discipline-free practice and cooperated with the State Bar. He also received some mitigating credit for physical difficulties he was suffering and for community service.

DAVID KYLE [#55821], 80, of Inglewood, was disbarred June 17, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

The State Bar Court found Kyle culpable of four counts of misconduct: failure to comply with rule 9.20, moral turpitude, misrepresentation and the unauthorized practice of law.

In 2012, he was representing four people who had been involved in a personal injury accident and filed a civil suit on their behalf. While he was representing them, he was suspended in another discipline matter. Though he filed a declaration falsely stating under penalty of perjury he had complied with rule 9.20 and provided written notice to his clients about his suspension, he had not actually done so.

In addition, Kyle appeared as counsel in three depositions while suspended, advised and guided his clients during depositions, introduced himself as “counsel” on the record during the depositions and did not notify opposing counsel he was suspended from the practice of law.

He had three prior records of discipline. In 2011, he was privately reproved for two ethical violations in a single client matter. In 2012, he was suspended after stipulating to two counts of failing to maintain his client’s funds in trust and failing to maintain client records. He was suspended again in 2013 for failing to comply with rule 9.20.

In mitigation, Kyle cooperated with the State Bar and admitted he was culpable of failing to provide written notice of his suspension to his clients.

AUDREY GAIL OWENS [#154130], 63, of Upland, was summarily disbarred June 17, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

In March 2014, Owens pleaded guilty to two counts of theft of government property exceeding $1,000.

JAMES MAZI PARSA [#153389], 51, of Tustin, was disbarred June 17, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court and make restitution.

In October 2009, Parsa became ineligible to practice law and shut down his thriving law practice due to convictions for unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. Even though his suspension was imminent, he continued to accept new clients – many of whom were vulnerable and facing foreclosure and bankruptcy – and accept advanced fees. He did not notify any clients he was about to close his office before he did so or let any of his contract attorneys know. As a result, he was charged with misconduct in 43 client matters including failing to return more than $120,000 in unearned fees, improperly withdrawing from employment, failing to perform with competence and committing acts of moral turpitude.

Parsa ultimately submitted his resignation with charges pending and the State Bar assumed jurisdiction over his practice. Parsa also hired an attorney to help him properly comply with rule 9.20 and instructed his office manager to send out notices to all of his 4,500 clients with active files. Many of his clients, however, did not receive the letters.

Parsa was ordered to pay $120,464 plus interest in restitution.

JON BENNETT RUBINFIER [#94525], 62, of Sherman Oaks, was disbarred June 17, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court and make restitution.

Rubinfier 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 rule 5.85 of the State Bar’s Rules of Procedure, he was disbarred and the charges against him deemed admitted.

Rubinfier was found culpable of four counts of misconduct in one client matter: misappropriation and failure to obey a court order, render an accounting of his client’s funds or promptly pay client funds.

He was ordered to pay $15,175.87 plus interest in restitution.

CARL JOSEPH SCHWEDLER [#244189], 56, of Davis, was disbarred June 17, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 and make restitution.

Schwedler 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, he was disbarred and the charges against him deemed admitted.

Schwedler’s misconduct stemmed from one client matter. He failed to perform legal services with competence by not perfecting a patent application for his client and failed to inform his client of significant developments by not telling him his patent application was abandoned. He also failed to promptly release client papers and property, return unearned fees or respond to letters from a State Bar investigator.

He was ordered to pay $1,500 plus interest in restitution.

DIRK DWIGHT SHARP [#130772], 58, of Bend, Ore., was disbarred June 17, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Sharp did not respond to a notice of disciplinary charges, leading to his default being entered. He did not seek to have his default set aside within 90 days so the bar moved to disbar him.

The charges were deemed admitted. Sharp failed to comply with rule 9.20 following an earlier discipline.

Sharp’s one prior discipline was a July 2014 suspension for four counts of misconduct in a single client matter, including committing acts of moral turpitude by knowingly making false representations to his client and failing to perform legal services with competence, respond to reasonable client status inquiries or account.

JEFFREY DAVID TOCHTERMAN [#170466], 49, of Sacramento, was disbarred June 17, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court and make restitution.

In 2009, Tochterman was hired by US Loan Auditors to file a lawsuit against a couple’s lender. The suit was ultimately dismissed because of Tochterman’s failure to amend the complaint. The court also sanctioned the couple $2,940 because of Tochterman’s slipup, a fact he did not tell them about. Other than filing a notice of address change, he took no further action in the matter. He also stopped communicating with them despite their efforts to reach him over a two-year period.

In 2013, he submitted a declaration of compliance with rule 9.20 in connection with another disciplinary matter. In it, he attested that he had no clients. In reality, he had never substituted out of the couple’s case, which was still pending. The court ultimately dismissed that matter for failure to bring the case to trial within five years.

He was ordered to pay $7,125 plus interest in restitution, an amount that stemmed from a small claims judgment the couple obtained against him.

Tochterman had one prior record of discipline, a 2013 suspension for sharing fees with a non-lawyer.

KATHERINE MELISSA TOWNLEY [#226566], 46, of Redding, was disbarred June 17, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Townley was disbarred after her default was entered for failing to respond to charges she had violated rule 9.20. She did not seek to have the default set aside within 90 days so the bar moved to disbar her under rule 5.85 of the State Bar’s Rules of Procedure.

The charges were deemed admitted.

In 2012, Townley was suspended for 14 counts of misconduct in five client matters, including improperly withdrawing from representation, improperly accepting fees from a non-client and failing to perform legal services with competence, respond to reasonable client status inquires, refund unearned fees, keep her client reasonably informed of significant developments, account or cooperate with a State Bar investigation.

She was also suspended in 2014 for improperly accepting fees from a non-client, and failing to respond to reasonable client status inquiries, account or promptly refund unearned fees.

DANIEL ISSAC WAGNER [#195610], 45, of Los Angeles, was disbarred June 17, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court and make restitution.

Wagner was disciplined for misconduct in two matters. In one matter, he twice filed written court requests on behalf of a client, identifying himself as an attorney, while he was suspended for failure to take the MPRE. A few months later, he filed a quarterly report with the State Bar’s Office of Probation falsely attesting under penalty of perjury he had complied with the State Bar Act when he had actually engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. He also did not respond to letters from a State Bar investigator looking into the allegations against him.

While he was suspended for failure to take the MPRE, Wagner also entered into a retainer agreement to represent the defendants in a civil suit, charged $9,930 in fees and provided legal advice. He did not reveal he wasn’t eligible to practice law and provided a false declaration to probation when he knew he had engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.

Wagner was ordered to pay $9,930 plus interest in restitution.  In mitigation, he entered into a pretrial stipulation with the State Bar.

He had two prior records of discipline, a 2013 suspension for charging advanced fees to perform loan modification services, disobeying a court order and failing to perform legal services with competence and a 2011 suspension for two counts of misconduct involving his client trust account.

PETER JOHN WHIPPLE [#107761], 60, of Stockton, was disbarred June 17, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Whipple was disbarred after his default was entered for failing 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 Rule 5.85 of the State Bar’s Rules of Procedure, he was disbarred and the charges against him were deemed admitted.

In one matter, Whipple misappropriated $9,267.47 in client funds for his own purposes. In another, he misappropriated $9,501.30.

HECTOR ARNOLDO CAVAZOS JR. [#226400], 47, of Sacramento, was disbarred June 18, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Following his suspension in 2015, Cavazos filed a declaration with the State Bar in which he falsely stated under penalty of perjury he had no papers or property in his possession that his clients were entitled to and that he represented no clients in pending matters. In reality, he was still counsel in at least four matters.

In addition, he failed to notify opposing counsel of his suspension and filed a non-compliant declaration with the State Bar, which he did not correct.

In mitigation, he entered into a pretrial stipulation with the State Bar. He had one prior record of discipline, a 2015 suspension for misconduct in five matters.

MARIO ESTUARDO DIAZ [#76235], 64, of Laguna Hills, was disbarred June 18, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

In 2013, Diaz was hired to represent a widow in a wrongful death lawsuit concerning the death of her husband. Diaz brought in an attorney who specialized in catastrophic injury lawsuits. The case settled and the client was entitled to $420,300.44. The co-counsel issued six checks from his client trust account and gave them to Diaz to pass along to the client. Instead of turning over the money, Diaz deposited four of the checks in his client trust account. He asked a third attorney to deposit two of the checks in that attorney’s trust account, claiming he didn’t have his own, and to reimburse him.

Diaz ultimately misappropriated $420,270.44 of the client’s settlement funds for his own purposes. After obtaining new counsel, the woman sued Diaz. As a result, he repaid the $420,300.44 plus an additional $115,000 and promised to deliver another $50,000 within two years. As a result of Diaz’s actions, the woman was deprived of her settlement funds for almost a year.

Diaz had one prior record of discipline, a 2014 suspension for misappropriating more than $42,000 of his client’s funds and failing to maintain client funds in trust.

ARCHER BRYANT HUDSON JR. [#92402], 71, of Yucaipa, was disbarred June 18, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Hudson’s disbarment stems from his four felony convictions for lewd acts on minors and solicitation to murder. In 1994, he was arrested based on allegations he had molested multiple boys. After the allegations came to light, he tried to prevent one of the boys from testifying against him by hiring a hit man. But the hit man went to police, who staged a photograph to look like the boy had been murdered and buried in a shallow grave in the desert.

In 1999, following an earlier mistrial, he was convicted of one felony count of solicitation of murder and one felony count of a lewd act on a child under 14. That year, a State Bar investigator visited him while he was incarcerated in San Bernardino to try to get him to resign based on his violation of what is now rule 9.20. He did not file a declaration of compliance until March 19, 2015, nearly 20 years after he was originally ordered to do so.

LYNNE MARGERY ROMANO [#123413], 58, of Pasadena, was disbarred June 18, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Romano’s disbarment stems from her indefinite suspension by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California for participating in a “series of abusive bankruptcy case filings for the sole purpose of delaying foreclosure.” Over a three-year period, with help from a paralegal whom she aided in the authorized practice of law, Romano filed 82 fraudulent bankruptcy petitions on behalf of clients in an attempt to mislead the court and defraud creditors.

A State Bar Court judge initially recommended Romano be suspended for two years and until she provides proof of her rehabilitation, but the Office of Chief Trial Counsel appealed. In concluding she should be disbarred, a three-judge review panel affirmed the judge’s culpability and aggravation findings but found fewer mitigating circumstances.

Among other things, the panel gave less weight to Romano’s 22 years of discipline-free practice, noting the “misconduct was most serious, involved intentional dishonesty, and continued over three and a half years.”

PAUL ERNEST VALLONE [#168395], 52, of Martinez, was disbarred June 18, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Vallone was found culpable of violating rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

He had two prior records of discipline. In 2011, he was suspended for five counts of misconduct in four matters, three of which involved convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol. In the fourth matter, he falsified a proposed court order in his legal separation. In 2013, his State Bar probation was revoked for violations that included not scheduling a meeting with his assigned probation deputy on time, not providing proof of having attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and not arranging required drug and alcohol tests.

HUGH WALTER BERRY [#149416], 50, of Mill Creek, Wash., was disbarred June 17, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Berry 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, he was disbarred and the charges against him deemed admitted.

Berry failed to comply with the conditions of his disciplinary probation which required him to meet with the Office of Probation, participate in a fee arbitration with a client, submit regular reports and update his address.

Berry had a previous suspension in 2014 for practicing law when he was not eligible, committing an act involving moral turpitude and failing to render an accounting to a client or promptly release a client’s file upon his termination.

JOSEPH DECARLO [#230256], 63, of Los Angeles, was disbarred June 17, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

DeCarlo was disbarred after his default was entered when he failed to respond to a notice of hearing. He did not seek to have the default set aside within 90 days as required under rule 5.85 of the State Bar’s Rules of Procedure, so the State Bar moved to disbar him.

The charges were deemed admitted. In 2014 DeCarlo was convicted of reckless driving after he was pulled over in Hollywood and determined to be under the influence of alcohol.

STEPHEN KENNETH CHRYSLER [#165677],50, of Meridian, Idaho, was summarily disbarred June 17, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

In April 2012, Chrysler was convicted of five counts of wire fraud, felonies that involve moral turpitude.

ERICA RENAE ARCEO [#177462], 48, of Lincoln, was summarily disbarred June 18, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

In December 2013, Arceo pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, a felony involving moral turpitude.

TATIANA KATERINA LINTON [#166615], 46, of Van Nuys, was summarily disbarred June 18, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

In December 2014, Linton pleaded no contest to forgery, a felony involving moral turpitude.

SAQIB A. ZUBERI [#273389], 37, of Chino Hills, was disbarred July 9, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Zuberi 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 rule 5.85 of the State Bar’s Rules of Procedure, he was disbarred and the charges against him deemed admitted.

He failed to perform legal services with competence, failed to refund unearned fees and accepted fees from a non-client in one matter. In another matter, he failed to deposit client funds in trust and misappropriated $67,704.47. In a third matter, he charged upfront fees for loan modification work, failed to account, failed to submit and negotiate a loan modification, filed an incomplete bankruptcy petition causing it to be dismissed and performed no other legal services on behalf of his client, thereby earning none of the $3,000 in advanced fees paid by his client. He also did not promptly refund unearned fees.

In addition, Zuberi failed to respond to letters from a State Bar investigator or comply with the terms of his disciplinary probation.

He had two prior records of discipline, a 2014 suspension for of failing to promptly return unearned fees or participate in a disciplinary investigation and a 2015 suspension for ethical violations in six client matters, which included charging and collecting fees before completing all services in a loan modification matter, entering into a business transaction with a client without taking the appropriate steps to protect the client’s interests, and failing to perform with competence, return unearned fees, render accountings or participate in six disciplinary investigations.

THEODORE SHIN LEE [#191848], 44, of Sherman Oaks, was disbarred July 23, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

In one client matter, Lee misappropriated $56,667 of his client’s funds from a settlement and commingled personal funds in his client trust account. In another, he intentionally misappropriated $10,000 belonging to a client. In a third matter, he misappropriated $20,000 from his clients and failed to promptly pay the lien his clients’ medical providers had against their settlement funds.

In all three matters he made misrepresentations under oath in a Rule 9.20 compliance declaration, committed acts involving moral turpitude and failed to notify clients of his suspension, cooperate with State Bar investigations or comply with the conditions of his disciplinary probation.

As a result of Lee’s misconduct, his clients were deprived of their settlement funds for approximately 18 months. In mitigation, he entered into a pretrial stipulation with the State Bar.

He had one prior record of discipline, a June 2014 suspension for misappropriating funds from 13 different clients between 2010 and 2012.

JOHN KENNETH SAUR [#64558], 75 of Laguna Niguel, was disbarred July 23, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Saur’s misconduct involved one client matter. In 2012, he intentionally misappropriated $21,569.99 of his client’s settlement funds. When his clients asked about their money, Saur lied and said their health insurer and Medicare were disputing their share of the settlement money. Later, he blamed his bookkeeper for the delay in paying the settlement funds. Ultimately, he agreed to pay them $15,750 in nine monthly installments of $1,750. He only paid $13,250, however, as of the date of the decision disbarring him, and still owed them an additional $9,463.98.

He was ordered to pay $9,463.98 plus interest in restitution.

Saur had a prior public reproval from 2014 for failing to render an accounting to his client.

JAGDIP SINGH SEKHON [#170324], 49, of Salida, was summarily disbarred July 23, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

In June 2009, Sekhon was convicted of conspiracy to commit immigration fraud, a felony that involved moral turpitude.

KEVIN JOHN SENN [#136226], 53, of Danville, was disbarred July 23, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court and make restitution.

Senn was disbarred after his default was entered when he walked out of his disciplinary trial and did not return. Because he did not seek to have the default set aside or vacated within 45 days, the State Bar moved to disbar him under rule 5.85 of the State Bar’s Rules of Procedure.

The charges were deemed admitted. In one matter, Senn failed to maintain client funds in his trust account and misappropriated $136,820 in client funds. In another, he failed to maintain client funds in trust and misappropriated $172,500. 

He was ordered to pay $309,320 plus interest in restitution.

JULIA ANN TISCHLER [#159864], 55, of Newport Beach, was disbarred July 23, 2015 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Tischler 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, she was disbarred and the charges against her deemed admitted.

Tischler failed to comply with the terms attached to a prior public reproval by failing to submit three quarterly reports by their due dates, not submitting to the Office of Probation three quarterly reports regarding her compliance with her criminal probation by their due dates, not submitting three quarterly reports regarding her attendance at abstinence-based alcohol abuse self-help group meetings by their due dates and not providing satisfactory proof of Ethics School attendance.

She had two prior records of discipline. The public reproval stemmed from a conviction for two drunken driving incidents. In 2015, she was suspended for failing to competently perform legal services, promptly refund unearned fees, render an appropriate accounting to a client or cooperate in a disciplinary investigation.

JENNIFER MICHELE BOZEAT [#197875], 43, of Olympia, Wash., was disbarred July 23, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court and make restitution.

Bozeat failed to respond to a notice of disciplinary charges and her default was entered. She did not seek to have the default set aside or vacated within 90 days as required by rule 5.85 of the State Bar’s Rules of Procedure, so the State Bar moved to disbar her.

The charges were deemed admitted. Bozeat charged and collected an illegal fee while she was not entitled to practice law and failed to perform legal services with competence by not taking any action in her client’s family law matter, respond to her client’s reasonable status inquiries, return unearned fees or cooperate in a State Bar disciplinary investigation.

She was ordered to pay $2,500 plus interest in restitution.

PATRICK DEAN HOLSTINE [#253292], 46, of Sacramento, was disbarred July 23, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Holstine failed to respond to a notice of disciplinary charges and his default was entered. He did not seek to have the default set aside or vacated within 90 days, so the State Bar moved to disbar him.

The charges were deemed admitted. Holstine failed to comply with eight court orders issued by Yolo County Superior Court, failed to maintain the respect due to the courts and judicial officers by not showing up for court or showing up late, sought to mislead a judge and engaged in moral turpitude by making a false statement to the court. He also failed to comply with court orders to pay $1,000 sanctions and turn over his file to the public defender. He did not report the sanctions, return client papers/property or cooperate in a State Bar investigation.

DAVID JAMES LOLA [#231190], 42, of Winston-Salem, N.C., was disbarred Aug. 14, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Lola was disbarred after his default was entered for failing to respond to a notice of disciplinary charges for not cooperating with a State Bar investigation. He did not seek to have the default set aside or vacated as required under rule 5.85 of the State Bar’s Rules of Procedure and was disbarred.

The charges were deemed admitted.

He had been disciplined on one prior occasion. In 2012 he was publicly reproved after pleading guilty to carrying a concealed weapon, a misdemeanor.

LAWRENCE TANG MA [#265868], 33, of Millbrae, was disbarred Aug. 14, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Ma stipulated that he failed to comply with rule 9.20 by not filing a declaration of compliance by deadline.

He had one prior record of discipline, a 2015 suspension for insurance fraud.

CHRISTOPHER RAMOS MACARAEG [#222120], 43, of San Diego, was disbarred Aug. 14, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Macaraeg stipulated to misconduct in three disciplinary cases. In one matter, he failed to file an appellate brief or statement of issues on behalf of a client he represented in an immigration removal matter. As a result, the court dismissed the appeal, a fact he did not inform his client of. After discovering his case was dismissed, the client hired another lawyer to reopen his case and asked for his file. When Macaraeg failed to turn the file over, his new lawyer filed an appeal based on Macaraeg’s ineffectiveness in the case and the court granted a motion to reopen it. As of the date of the court’s discipline recommendation, Macaraeg still hadn’t returned the file.

On Aug. 22, 2014, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals filed an order to show cause as to why Macaraeg should not be sanctioned $2,000, suspended or disbarred for misconduct, namely filing a large number of petitions for review that he failed to prosecute. Macaraeg was ordered to submit copies of retainer agreements with respect to several cases he filed and to file a dismissal or opening brief in another matter. He did not produce any of the retainer agreements or file to dismiss the matter by the deadline. That December, more than three months after he was he was ordered to do so, he filed the dismissal. At the time, however, he was suspended and not authorized to practice law.

In addition, Macaraeg did not report the $2,000 sanctions to the State Bar. He also failed to perform legal services with competence in eight client matters by not filing opening briefs and failing to respond to orders to show cause.

In the third case, he failed to file an appellate brief, resulting in the dismissal of the client’s appeal, then lied to her relatives and said her case was going well.

No mitigating circumstances were cited in Macaraeg’s discipline case. In aggravation, his misconduct resulted in the dismissal of several matters, severely prejudiced his clients and caused them to incur additional expenses to hire new lawyers. He also had two prior records of discipline, a 2012 private reproval for failing to perform competently and a 2014 suspension for not complying with the terms of his disciplinary probation.

ANDREW WILLIAM QUINN [#209654], 53, of San Diego, was disbarred Aug. 14, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Quinn appealed a State Bar Court hearing judge’s disbarment recommendation, arguing that his 2012 conviction for peeking into his 18-year-old stepson’s window and earlier misconduct in which he lied about setting up cameras to film another stepson only warranted a three-year suspension. A three-judge review panel affirmed the judge’s recommendation finding that Quinn “twice engaged in egregious misconduct for his sexual gratification,” was dishonest and displayed a lack of candor in his trial testimony.

In May 2012, Quinn was caught peeking through his stepson’s window, leading the stepson to file a police report and obtain a temporary restraining order. The following year, he pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor charge. In 2008, he hid cameras in his 15-year-old stepson’s shower and above his bed. He initially lied about placing the cameras.

Quinn had no prior record of discipline.

GINO PAUL PIETRO [#129582], 55, of Tustin, was summarily disbarred Aug. 14, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

On Jan. 22, 2014, Pietro was convicted of wire fraud, a felony involving moral turpitude.

JOHN CLIFTON ELSTEAD [#61048], 73, of Oakland, was disbarred Aug. 19, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Elstead appealed a State Bar Court hearing judge’s disbarment recommendation arguing, among other things, he “substantially complied” with rule 9.20. But a three-judge panel upheld the discipline recommendation, finding disbarment necessary to protect the public and the profession.

He failed to comply with rule 9.20 following a 2013 suspension by filing a late declaration and claimed he had filed a notice with the Court of Appeal when he had not.

In addition, Elstead engaged in the unauthorized practice of law by signing and filing legal documents and holding himself out as eligible to practice law when he wasn’t. The panel also found Elstead committed three acts of moral turpitude when he engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. In addition, he failed to cooperate with the State Bar by not responding to two letters from a State Bar investigator.

Elstead’s previous suspension in 2013 was for failing to account to clients, committing acts of moral turpitude, failing to return unearned fees and accepting fees from a non-client.

RICHARD D. ACKERMAN [#171900], 47, of Menifee, was disbarred Aug. 28, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Ackerman was disbarred after his default was entered for failing to respond to a notice of disciplinary charges stemming from his failure to comply with rule 9.20. Because he did not seek to have the default set aside or vacated within 90 days, he was disbarred and the charges against him deemed admitted.

He had two prior records of discipline. In 2013, he was suspended for repeatedly failing to perform legal services with competence and failing to communicate with his client in a single client matter. He was suspended again in 2015 for failing to file his first four quarterly probation reports on time or take Ethics School by the deadline.

DANIEL ALAN BERNATH [#116636], 67, of Fort Myers, Fla., was disbarred Aug. 28, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Bernath was disbarred after his default was entered for failing to appear in the midst of a lengthy State Bar Court trial. He failed to have his default set aside or vacated within 45 days as required under rule 5.85 of the State Bar’s Rules of Procedure so the bar moved to disbar him.

The charges were deemed admitted. Bernath engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, engaged in moral turpitude by repeatedly holding himself out as entitled to practice law when he wasn’t and made a false statement to the State Bar. He also engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in Oregon, where he was not licensed, engaged in moral turpitude by practicing law there, failed to report to the State Bar an order permanently barring him from practicing before the Social Security Administration and sent letters to prospective clients that were not labeled as advertising.

In a third matter, he held himself out as authorized to practice law when he wasn’t and engaged in moral turpitude by doing so.

GENE WOOK CHOE [#187704], 53, of Los Angeles, was disbarred Aug. 28, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court and make restitution.

A hearing judge found Choe culpable of 65 counts of misconduct including collecting $258,400 in illegal advanced fees for loan modification work, making unauthorized withdrawals from client accounts and committing acts constituting moral turpitude connected to his bankruptcy practice. Choe appealed, denying the most serious charges and arguing that only a long period of suspension was warranted. A three-judge review panel upheld the disbarment recommendation, noting that “Choe’s misconduct in his loan modification and bankruptcy practices was egregious and widespread, spanning nearly two years.”

For nearly a decade Choe ran a civil practice in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles, expanding it in 2008 to provide loan modification services as well as bankruptcy and foreclosure defense. The practice grew to three offices with more than 35 lawyers, 50 administrative staff and more than 1,300 active clients.

The complaints to the State Bar began in 2011. In 2012, the California Attorney General, joined by representatives of the State Bar, executed a search warrant on his Los Angeles Office. Soon after, Choe moved to a new location in Los Angeles and resumed his loan modification work under a new business name.

A State Bar Court hearing judge found Choe culpable of 25 counts of collecting illegal fees, seven counts of moral turpitude for the unauthorized withdrawal of client funds, nine counts of failing to return unearned fees, 15 counts of failing to render accounts of client funds, two counts of failing to release client files, improper withdrawal from employment, failing to respond to client inquiries, improper soliciation, seeking to mislead a judge and failure to comply with bankruptcy laws. He was also found culpable of moral turpitude for his handling of seven bankruptcy petitions.

Twenty-five individuals and couples hired Choe between August 2010 and June 2012 and agreed to pay a flat fee first and a monthly flat fee after. He collected the money by depositing postdated checks he’d previously received from the clients or through electronic withdrawals directly from their accounts.

In its decision, the panel noted that Choe “exploited his client’s financial desparation and his fiduciary position by charging advanced fees.”

Choe had no prior record of discipline. He was ordered to pay $233,234 plus interest in restitution.

MICHAEL GREGORY MCCOY [#241836], 45, of Austin, Texas, was disbarred Aug. 28, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

McCoy was disbarred as a result of a judgment in Texas for professional misconduct. He failed to respond to a notice of disciplinary charges from the State Bar and his default was entered. Because he failed to have the default set aside or vacated within 90 days as required under rule 5.85 of the State Bar’s Rules of Procedure, he was disbarred and the charges against him deemed admitted.

In March 2014, McCoy was suspended in Texas for failing to hold $10,250 in client funds he was keeping for prepayment of expenses in a patent matter separate from his own funds and failing to provide the client with an accounting of the money.

ANGELA ELIZABETH MUELLER [#266929], 38, of San Diego, was disbarred Aug. 28, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Mueller 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 by rule 5.85 of the State Bar’s Rules of Procedure, she was disbarred and the charges against her deemed admitted.

Mueller engaged in misconduct in five matters. She engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in New Jersey, Maryland and New Mexico, where she was not licensed, and allowed her non-attorney staff to provide legal advice to clients.

MICHAEL PARRA [#216596], 48, of Anaheim, was disbarred Aug. 28, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Parra failed to respond to a notice of disciplinary charges and his default was entered. The Office of Chief Trial Counsel filed a petition for his disbarment under rule 5.85 of the State Bar’s Rules of Procedure when he failed to have the default set aside or vacated within 90 days.

Parra failed to comply with the conditions of his disciplinary probation. He was previously suspended on three different occasions. In June 2013, he was suspended for appearing as an attorney on behalf of a party without the party’s consent and failing to perform legal services with competence, communicate, refund unearned fees, deposit client funds into a client trust account, provide an accounting to a client or maintain a membership address with the State Bar.

His second suspension was in February 2014 for failing to obey a court order, report court-ordered sanctions to the State Bar, cooperate during disciplinary proceedings, communicate with clients, render appropriate accountings to a client, return a client’s file, refund unearned fees or provide any legal services of value.

In January 2015, he was suspended again for making a misrepresentation in his rule 9.20 affidavit, which involved moral turpitude, and failing to promptly return his client’s file, cooperate in a disciplinary investigation or comply with a condition attached to his disciplinary probation.

LORNA CHRISTINE WASHINGTON [#199393], 54, of Burbank, was disbarred Aug. 28, 2016 and ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court and make restitution.

Washington was disbarred in part for her mishandling of a probate matter. She failed to maintain a balance of $112,971.65 of estate funds in her client trust account, misappropriated $105,173.25 of the estate funds and failed to complete the probate matter or appear at three court hearings. She also did not file a status report or a petition for final distribution of the assets of the estate by deadline, in violation of a court order, and misrepresented to the court that she held $112,971.65 in her client trust account for the beneficiaries of the estate when she knew that was false.

She also failed to complete Ethics School by deadline, a requirement of her probation resulting from an earlier private reproval.

She was ordered to pay $17,994.35 plus interest in restitution.

In mitigation, she entered into a pretrial stipulation with the State Bar.

Washington’s December 2013 private reproval was for failing to represent a client in a probate matter in a timely manner and not promptly refunding an advanced fee that was not earned.

. 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.