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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2007-029

IN RE: PETER M. CASTELLUCCIO

S.J.C. Judgment of Disbarment entered by Justice Ireland on April 24, 2007.1

SUMMARY2

In a petition filed in November 2006, the respondent was charged with misappropriating at least $33,255.68 from the operating account of his employerís law firm. In March 2007, the respondent filed 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 would be established by a preponderance of the evidence at a hearing.

In 2002, the respondent went to work at a small law firm as a temporary full-time operations manager to manage the administrative and operations functions of the firm while establishing his own practice at the firm. The respondentís duties as operations manager included processing accounts payable.

Initially, the respondentís employer was the sole signatory on the firmís operating account, and the respondent was authorized to sign the employerís name on checks when paying the firmís bills. In either late 2003 or early 2004, the employer added the respondentís name as a signatory on the firmís account.

Beginning in February 2003 and continuing through September 2004, the respondent intentionally misappropriated the law firmís funds for his personal use by writing checks on the firmís operating account. The respondent made these checks payable to himself or to ďcashĒ. Initially, the respondent signed the employerís name to these checks, and later, once he became a signatory on the account, the respondent signed his own name. At no time did the respondent have the employerís authorization to sign checks for any purpose other than paying the firmís bills.

To cover up his actions, the respondent falsely entered some of the checks into the officeís software accounting program as payable to a certain vendor. To further conceal his misappropriations, the respondent varied the frequency and amount of the checks he wrote and he entered the checks in the accounting program with codes that were underrepresented in a particular month so that expenditures in any one category would not appear to be excessive.

In June 2005, a new operations manager at the firm discovered the respondentís conversions and reported them to the employer. When confronted by the employer, the respondent admitted his misconduct and signed a promissory note agreeing to repay $33,255.68. Under the terms of the note, payments were to be made in monthly installments of no less than $1,000, commencing on September 1, 2005. As of the date of the respondentís resignation in March 2007, he had repaid only approximately $6,000.

The respondentís intentional misappropriation of the law firmís office funds for his personal use with the intent to deprive his employer or the firm of the funds at least temporarily and with actual deprivation resulting violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4(c) and (h). The respondentís falsifying of the law firmís office records in order to cover up his misuse of office funds also violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4(c) and (h).

The affidavit of resignation was filed with the Board of Bar Overseers on March 21, 2007. On April 9, 2007, the Board voted to recommend that the affidavit of resignation be accepted and that an order of disbarment be entered forthwith. On April 24, 2007, the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County so ordered.


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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