Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 79163
Attorney Name Woolever, Bonnie Ann
DBP Docket No. 75 DB 1999
Supreme Court Docket No. 526 D.D. No. 3
County Cumberland
Disciplinary Counsel John Francis Dougherty
Counsel for Respondent Robert H. Davis, Jr.
Decision Date 2000-10-19
Effective Date 2000-11-19
Case Digest By order of June 22, 1999 the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania placed the Respondent on temporary suspension as a result of her conviction for insurance fraud and directed the Disciplinary Board to determine the discipline warranted by the conviction. The conviction related to workers’ compensation for injuries the Respondent had received while engaged in summer employment in 1992. In 1994 she began receiving $315.20 bi-weekly from the State Workers’ Insurance Fund. While in law school the Respondent worked part-time for the Department of Welfare and failed to report that work to the State Workers’ Insurance Fund. On August 5, 1996 the Respondent, then a recent law school graduate, became employed on a full-time basis with the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board. By letter of September 13, 1996 to the State Workers’ Insurance Fund the Respondent advised that she was planning to accept full-time employment as soon as possible. By letter of December 12, 1996 the Respondent’s counsel advised the State Workers’ Insurance Fund of the Respondent’s employment with the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board. The Respondent’s employment was terminated in January1997 for willful misconduct because of her improper receipt of workers’ compensation. The Respondent pleaded guilty to one count of Insurance Fraud, made restitution of $15,534.86, and was sentenced to one year probation and costs of prosecution. The Disciplinary Board found that the Respondent was aware of her obligation to report her employment and the compensation she received and that upon endorsing each bi-weekly check she falsely certified that she had received no wages during the period specified on the check. The Board also found that her letter of September 13, 1996 to the State Workers’ Insurance Fund was an outright misrepresentation of her employment status. The Board found that the Respondent’s testimony in the disciplinary proceeding evidenced her failure to fully acknowledge the magnitude of her misconduct, that she did not take full responsibility for her actions, and did not perceive what she had done as wrong. She did not exhibit remorse and blamed the legal system for her problems. These were found to be aggravating factors and caused the Disciplinary Board to reject the Hearing Committee recommendation of a three year suspension and to recommend a five year suspension.
Rule Violation(s) Pa.R.D.E. 203(b)(1); RPC 8.4(b)
Discipline Imposed Five Year Suspension retroactive to 7-22-99. (Per Curiam) Order; no opinion)
Points of Law Failure to fully acknowledge the wrongdoing evidenced by the conviction and accept personal responsibility and exhibit remorse will aggravate the discipline to be imposed for the conviction.
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