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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Public Reprimand No. 2010-1



JULIE A. DIALESSI-LAFLEY

Order (public reprimand) entered by the Board February 8, 2010.

SUMMARY1


On or about October 19, 2007, the respondent was appointed as a client’s representative payee for supplemental security income payments from Social Security (SSI). The client’s monthly SSI payment was $653.40, which was raised to $667.40 per month in January 2008.

From October 2007 through March 2009, the respondent received her client’s monthly SSI check and paid the client’s expenses and debts from these funds. From March 2008, until March 2009, the respondent failed to maintain a client ledger for her client’s funds.

The respondent did not charge her client for her services until March 2008. Between March 2008 and July 2008, the respondent charged the client a total of $1,525 as a fee for serving as representative payee. The fee was in violation of 42 U. S. C. §1383 (a)(2)(D)(i), which provides that only a qualified organization may collect a fee for the service of acting as a representative payee. The respondent did not meet the requirements of a “qualified organization.”

The respondent’s conduct in collecting an illegal fee for acting as a representative payee for an SSI beneficiary was in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.5(a). The respondent’s conduct in failing to keep an individual client ledger documenting the receipt and disbursement of the funds for her client was in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.15(f)(1)(C).

The matter came before the Board of Bar Overseers on a stipulation of facts and rule violations and a joint recommendation for a public reprimand. On January 14, 2010, the Board voted to accept the stipulation and joint recommendation.


1 Compiled by the Board of Bar Overseers based on the record of proceedings before the Board.



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