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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2006-012

IN RE: ROBERT C. GERRARD

S.J.C. Order of Indefinite Suspension entered by Justice Ireland on August 21, 2006.1

SUMMARY2

The respondent’s mother was a recipient of Title II retirement benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Her benefit checks were directly deposited into a bank account in Watertown on which the respondent and his mother were signatories. The respondent’s mother died in 1987, but the respondent did not so notify the SSA. At least two changes of address were reported to the SSA after the respondent’s mother’s death: one address was the respondent’s residence and the other was his law office. Benefits eventually totaling $116,579 continued to be paid into the account until 2003.

The respondent entered a guilty plea on February 1, 2006, to three felony counts of wire fraud in violation of 18 U. S. C. § 1343 and one felony count of theft of government funds in violation of 18 U. S. C. § 641. At that time, approximately $40,000 remained in the account. The respondent was temporarily suspended from the practice of law on February 21, 2006. On April 26, 2006, the respondent was sentenced to probation for a term of three years and ordered to pay restitution of $116,579.00.

On May 10, 2006, bar counsel filed a petition for discipline charging that the respondent had been convicted of these offenses and had thereby violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4(b), (c), and (h). The respondent did not file an answer to the petition for discipline.

On June 2, 2006, the Board of Bar Overseers notified the respondent that the allegations of the petition were deemed admitted and gave him twenty days to move for relief from default for good cause. The notice provided, “Failure to file a motion and other documents within that time will foreclose you from denying the allegations in the petition and presenting evidence in mitigation, and the matter will be referred to the Board for final disposition.” The respondent filed no papers.

On July 13, 2006, the board notified the parties that the matter was being placed on the board’s August 2006 agenda and that the parties had fourteen days to file briefs on disposition. Bar counsel filed a brief requesting a recommendation from the Board of Bar Overseers that the respondent be indefinitely suspended, effectively retroactively to the effective date of his temporary suspension. The respondent filed no brief on disposition.

On August 14, 2006, the Board of Bar Overseers voted to file an information recommending that the respondent be indefinitely suspended from the practice of law, effective February 21, 2006, the date of his temporary suspension. The board filed an information with the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County on August 17, 2006. On August 21, 2006, the county court (Ireland, J.) entered an order of indefinite suspension retroactive to February 21, 2006.

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 before the Court.



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