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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2006-054

IN RE: THOMAS NEWCOMB

S.J.C. Judgment of Disbarment entered by Justice Spina on December 20, 2007.1

SUMMARY2

In November of 2007, the respondent submitted an Affidavit of Resignation pursuant to S.J.C. Rule 4:01, ß 15. The respondent admitted in his affidavit that the following material facts could be proved by a preponderance of the evidence at a hearing.

The respondent conducted a conveyancing practice and used a conveyancing account for the deposit of closing proceeds and the payment of disbursements required to complete residential real estate sales and refinances. From 2001 through early 2006, the respondent periodically knowingly misappropriated trust funds from the conveyancing account to pay various business and personal expenses unrelated to any real estate closings, in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.15(b) and (c) [1.15(a) and (b), respectively, for conduct prior to July 1, 2004], 8.4(c) and 8.4(h).

The respondentís conversion of trust funds caused a deficit in the conveyancing account that grew to approximately $330,000 in early 2006. The volume of activity in the account partially masked the deficit, with deposits on new transactions being applied to pay outstanding disbursements on prior matters. The respondent knew there was a deficit in the account and continued to use it for transactions, thereby knowingly using closing proceeds to cover unrelated disbursements, in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.15(b) and (c) [1.15(a) and (b), respectively, for conduct prior to July 1, 2004], 8.4(c) and 8.4(h).

In early 2006, the respondentís title insurer learned of the deficit, audited the account and terminated the respondentís agency contract. The insurer paid pursuant to its title insurance policies $331,401.43 in unpaid closing disbursements and brought suit against the respondent seeking indemnification. In February of 2007, the respondent and the insurer agreed to the entry of a judgment of $331,401.43, approximately $280,000 of which remained unpaid at the time the respondent submitted his affidavit.

On June 29, 2006, the respondent assented to the entry of an order temporarily suspending his license to practice law, pending further proceedings in this matter. Matter of Newcomb, 22 Mass. Attíy. Disc. R. 585 (2006).

On December 10, 2007, the Board of Bar Overseers voted unanimously to recommend that the respondentís affidavit of resignation be accepted and that an order of disbarment be entered retroactive to June 29, 2006, the date of the respondentís temporary suspension. On December 20, 2007, a single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County so ordered.


FOOTNOTES:

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 Supreme Judicial Court.



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