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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2007-084

IN RE: PAUL J. VINCI.

S.J.C. Order of Term Suspension entered by Justice Greaney on September 27, 2007.1

SUMMARY2

In January 1997, the respondent received a referral fee of about $228,000.00 for a personal injury case. The respondent had just been served with a complaint for divorce in the previous month. Shortly after receiving the referral fee, the respondent lent the full amount of the fee to a high school friend. The loan was unsecured and the purpose of the loan was to conceal the respondentís receipt of the funds from the probate court and his wife.

In December 1997 and May 1998, the respondent filed financial statements with the probate court. The financial statements required the respondent to disclose all of his assets and liabilities. Neither financial statement disclosed the respondentís receipt of the referral fee or the respondentís loan to his friend. The respondent signed each of the financial statements under the penalties of perjury, and knew that each financial statement was deceptive, false, and misleading.

In June 1998, the respondent, his counsel, the respondentís wife, and her counsel attended a four-way meeting as required by Probate and Family Court Standing Order 1-88. The respondentís wife asked the respondent whether he had received a referral fee in January 1997 from the settlement of a tort case and whether or not he had lent the money to his friend. The respondent admitted that he had received the funds and made the loan.

The respondentís conduct in filing false financial statements with the court and serving them on opposing counsel violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 3.3(a)(1) (lawyer shall not make a false statement of material fact to a tribunal), 3.4(b) (lawyer shall not falsify evidence), and 8.4(c) (conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation) and (d) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice).

On February 10, 2004, the respondent filed his annual registration statement with the Board of Bar Overseers assuming inactive status. Pursuant to S.J.C. Rule 4:03 (1), the respondentís annual bar dues were to be one-half of the fees he would pay if active. Beginning in 2006, the respondent failed to file his registration statement or to pay his annual registration fee to the Board of Bar Overseers.

On February 8, 2007, the Board filed a motion with the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County requesting that the respondent be administratively suspended from the practice of law for his failure to file his registration statement with the Board and to pay his bar dues. On February 9, 2007, the Court entered an order administratively suspending the respondent from the practice of law.

The respondent failed to register and pay his registration fees. He was therefore subject to Supreme Judicial Court Rules 4:03 (3) and 4:01, ß 17(5), which required, among other things, that the respondent notify all of his clients of his administrative suspension from the practice of law and to close every IOLTA and other trust account. In addition, the respondent was required to file an affidavit with bar counsel and with the Clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County certifying that he had fully complied with the provisions of the order of suspension and Rule 4:01, ß 17(5). The respondent failed to satisfy these requirements.

The respondentís failure without good cause to comply with the requirements of S.J.C. Rules 4:02 and 4:03 and his violation of the terms of his suspension from the practice of law violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 3.4(c) (knowingly disobey an obligation under the rules of a tribunal); 8.1(b) (knowingly fail to respond to a lawful demand for information from a disciplinary authority); and 8.4(d) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice), (g) (fail without good cause to cooperate with the Board of Bar Overseers), and (h) (conduct that adversely reflects on the fitness to practice law).

On August 9, 2007, the parties submitted a stipulation to the Board of Bar Overseers recommending that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for nine months. On September 10, 2007, the Board of Bar Overseers voted to accept the stipulation of the parties and their proposed sanction.

An Information was filed in the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County on September 25, 2007. On October 1, 2007, the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County ordered that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for nine months effective immediately upon the entry of the Courtís order.


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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