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When lawyers break the law

Posted By Administration, Monday, July 06, 2015

One longtime San Diego attorney laundered his client’s medical marijuana profits. A second is accused of aiding a global laundering operation with ties to drug traffickers.

A third is awaiting sentencing for stealing from his clients. A fourth got 12 years in prison for helping run a massive mortgage scam.

The prosecutions, all in San Diego federal court, are recent examples of lawyers accused of not only crossing an ethical boundary they’ve sworn to uphold, but venturing into criminal territory.

A federal investigation is still open into six unnamed attorneys and their representatives who are suspected of conspiring to bribe a San Diego DMV official to keep their clients from getting their driver’s licenses suspended in DUI cases.

Prosecutors pay extra attention to cases that involve professional licenses, such as attorneys, physicians and securities brokers, Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip Halpern said.

“The public has an expectation of trust when someone is a professional, so when there’s a violation of that trust, that would certainly elevate the crime as far as our enforcement,” Halpern said.

Read the whole story at The San Diego Union-Tribune

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