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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2005-009

IN RE: OSCAR W. WEEKES, JR.

S.J.C. Order of Indefinite Suspension entered by Justice Ireland on June 26, 2007.1

SUMMARY2

The respondent was admitted to the Bar of the Commonwealth on December 14, 1988. On February 8, 2005, the respondent was temporarily suspended from the practice of law by order of the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County.

During 2001 and 2002, the respondent was employed by Houghton Mifflin Company as assistant general counsel. The respondent’s responsibilities on behalf of Houghton Mifflin included reviewing vendor payments and authorizing payments to vendors and third parties.

In May 2001, July 2001, and October 2001, the respondent intentionally and fraudulently caused three Houghton Mifflin checks totaling $22,701 to be written to “Equity RP.” The respondent falsely identified “Equity RP” to his supervisor, the general counsel to Houghton Mifflin, as Equity Real Protection, a security company located at 6 Longfellow Place in Boston that had rendered services to Houghton Mifflin Company. In fact, as the respondent then knew, there was no company named Equity Real Protection, and 6 Longfellow Place, Boston, was not a valid address. The respondent intentionally used the three checks to pay his own rent to the company that managed the apartment building where he resided at the time.

On or about May 24, 2002, the respondent intentionally and fraudulently caused a Houghton Mifflin check for $3,400 to be issued to Attorney Robert Keough. The respondent intentionally misrepresented on invoices he supplied to Houghton Mifflin that the payments were for “legal fees for settlement & agreement & release” in connection with a claim against the company by a former Houghton Mifflin employee. The respondent also intentionally misrepresented to the general counsel to Houghton Mifflin that the check to Keough was payment for a legal consultation in connection with a discrimination case against Houghton Mifflin. In fact, the respondent intentionally used the check to pay his share of a rental of a summer vacation home in Rhode Island.

The respondent intentionally misrepresented to Keough that he was paying his share of the rent with a company check he had received in reimbursement of expenses owed to him by Houghton Mifflin. On June 4, 2007, the respondent made full restitution to Houghton Mifflin of all funds he had fraudulently obtained.

By fraudulently obtaining funds from Houghton Mifflin to pay his own personal expenses, the respondent violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4(c) (conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation) and (h) (conduct adversely reflecting on fitness to practice law). By misrepresenting to Houghton Mifflin, his supervisor, and Attorney Keough the purpose of the checks he caused to be issued, the respondent violated 4.1(a) (lawyer shall not make a false statement of material fact to a third person) and 8.4(c) and (h).

The respondent entered into a stipulation admitting to the facts and disciplinary violations set forth in a petition for discipline filed against him by the Office of Bar Counsel and agreeing that indefinite suspension represented the appropriate discipline for his misconduct. On June 11, 2007, the Board of Bar Overseers unanimously voted to accept the parties’ stipulation and the joint recommendation to file an Information with the Supreme Judicial Court recommending that the respondent be indefinitely suspended from the practice of law retroactive to February 8, 2005, the date of his temporary suspension. On June 26, 2007, the county court, Ireland, J., entered a judgment of indefinitely suspending the respondent from the practice of law retroactive to February 8, 2005.


1 The complete Order of the Court is available by contacting the Clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County.

2 Compiled by the Board of Bar Overseers based on the record filed with the Supreme Judicial Court.



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