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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2010-095

IN RE: ANDREW N. COPPO

S.J.C. Order of Term Suspension entered by Justice Ireland on September 30, 2010, with an effective date of November 1, 2010.1
(S.J.C. Judgment of Reinstatement entered by Justice Duffly on June 17, 2013.)

SUMMARY2

In 2006 and 2007, the respondent practiced law under the name of New England Law & Title, P.C. As a sole practitioner the respondent was the decision-maker for his firm. A mortgage broker referred a substantial amount of business to the respondent, and the respondent conducted approximately 100 closings involving this broker.

During this time, the respondent represented the same lender in three closings involving the broker. In each of the transactions, the respondent knew that the seller and the broker had a side agreement containing terms that differed substantially from the terms reported to the lender on the HUD-1. Among other things, the HUD-1s substantially overstated the purchase price, misrepresented that a deposit had been paid, and failed to disclose substantial payments to the broker. The side agreements also showed that the seller was to remain in possession of the property. The respondent provided the false HUD-1s to the lender and failed to inform it of the side agreements.

The respondent’s own interests and his relationship with the broker materially interfered with his responsibilities to the lender. Under the circumstances, the respondent could not ask for informed consent, nor did the respondent inform the lender of his conflict of interest.

The respondent’s failure to apprise the lender of the side agreements and his engaging in a non-consentable conflict of interest violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.4(a) and (b) and 1.7(b). His representation of the lender at the closings violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.16(a)(1). The respondent’s failure to pursue the lender’s lawful objectives in each of the transactions violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.2(a) (lawyer shall seek the lawful objectives of his client). His conduct in having knowingly false HUD-1 statements signed and providing the false statements to the lender violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4(c) (conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation) and (h) (conduct that adversely reflects on a lawyer’s fitness to practice law).

On August 31, 2010, the parties submitted a stipulation to the Board of Bar Overseers in which the respondent admitted to the truth of the allegations and the violations of the disciplinary rules set out in the petition for discipline, except those paragraphs in the petition that alleged that the respondent’s conduct had violated 18 U.S.C. §§ 1001 and 1010. The parties recommended that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for eighteen months. On September 13, 2010, the Board of Bar Overseers voted to accept the stipulation of the parties and their proposed sanction.

The board filed an Information with the court on September 24, 2010. On September 30, 2010, the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County ordered that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for eighteen months.


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 filed with the Supreme Judicial Court.



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