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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2007-077

IN RE: ANTHONY J. SICILIANO

S.J.C. Judgment of Disbarment entered by Justice Ireland on December 4, 2007.1

SUMMARY2

The respondent resigned and was disbarred for the intentional misuse of trust funds with deprivation resulting in the following two matters.

In the first matter, the respondent represented husband and wife in a medical malpractice claim against a doctor and filed a civil complaint in the Hampden County Superior Court in 1998. In August 2003, the respondent communicated to the wife a settlement offer of $165,000. The wife declined the offer and informed the respondent that she and her husband would settle the case if they could net $175,000.

On August 25, 2003, the respondent signed a stipulation of dismissal of the litigation and then filed the stipulation without the knowledge or authority of his clients. On August 10, 2003, the respondent forwarded a release to opposing counsel purportedly signed by his clients, knowing that the clients had not approved of the settlement terms, authorized their name to be signed to the release or authorized the dismissal of the civil case.

On September 9, 2003, opposing counsel caused the sum of $165,000 to be wired to the respondentís IOLTA account and on September 10, 2003, the funds were credited. The respondent did not then inform the clients of receipt of the funds.

Between September 10, 2003, and March 31, 2004, the respondent intentionally used all of the clientsí funds on deposit in his IOLTA account for personal or business purposes. As of March 31, 2004, the balance in the IOLTA account was $327.02, without any payment having been made to or for the benefit of the clients.

On July 20, 2006, the respondent sent a letter to the wife falsely informing her that the defendant had tendered an offer of $250,000.00 to settle her case and that after deduction of attorneyís fees and costs, the net amount of the settlement would be $175,000.

As of January 12, 2007, the respondent made full restitution to his clients.

The respondentís settlement of a civil case contrary to the instruction of his clients was in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.2(a). The respondentís false statements to his clients following the settlement were in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.4 and 8.4(c). The respondentís conduct in forwarding to opposing counsel a release purporting to contain his clientsí signatures without their authorization was in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 4.1 and 8.4(c). The respondentís intentional misuse of the funds for his own personal or business purposes with the intent to deprive and with actual deprivation resulting was in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.15(a), (b) and (c), and Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4(c). For his conduct prior to June 30, 2004, the respondent violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.15(a) and (b) of the rule then in effect and Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4(c).

In the second matter, on June 5, 2007, the respondent was settlement agent for two residential real estate closing transactions, one for a condominium called unit 157 and the other for a condominium called unit 158. The units were being sold by the same developer/seller.

The respondent received gross funding proceeds sufficient to fund each transaction. On June 5, 2006, the two transactions closed. Out of the funding proceeds for unit 157, the respondent was required to pay Webster Bank the sum $103,592.63. Out of the funding proceeds for unit 158, the respondent was required to pay Webster Bank the sum of $104,243.61. The respondent failed to pay Webster Bank on each unit.

After June 5, 2007, the respondent intentionally depleted the funds in his IOLTA account by making transfers of funds in large round amounts from his IOLTA account to his personal or business accounts. As of August 28, 2007, the respondentís IOLTA account had a balance of only $18,130.77, without any payment having been made to or for the benefit of Webster Bank.

The respondentís intentional misuse of trust funds with actual and continuing deprivation resulting and his failure to pay to a third party the funds that the third party was undisputedly entitled to receive, was in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.15(b), (c) and (e).

On October 15, 2007, the respondent stipulated to his temporary suspension from the practice of law and on October 29, 2007, he filed an affidavit of resignation pursuant to S.J.C. Rule 4:01, ß 15. On November 19, 2007, the Board voted to recommend that the affidavit of resignation be accepted and that an order of disbarment be entered effective immediately, retroactive to the date of the temporary suspension. On December 4, 2007, 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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