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Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 22318
Attorney Name Sokolic, Stephen E.
DBP Docket No. 59 DB 1999
Supreme Court Docket No. 519 DD No. 3
County Philadelphia
Disciplinary Counsel Richard Hernandez
Counsel for Respondent William J. Honig
Decision Date 2003-07-30
Effective Date 2003-07-30
Case Digest Petitioner reinstated after having served a three-year suspension that the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania directed by Order dated December 18, 2000. Petitionerís suspension was made retroactive to May 4, 1999, the date Petitioner was placed on temporary suspension. Petitionerís suspension was based on his guilty plea to one count of violating 18 U.S.C. ß1027, on the basis that he made or caused to be made documents that contained false statements and misrepresentations, which documents were required to be kept as part of records of an employee pension benefit plan by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. Petitioner became involved in a pension fund fraud and embezzlement scheme initiated by his client. Petitionerís client was the beneficiary of the scheme, in which the client took pension funds exceeding $550,000 from an employee retirement plan and used those funds for his personal benefit. Petitioner and others prepared or caused to be prepared documents falsely purporting to convert the retirement plan into an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, funded by stock of several companies owned solely by the client, as of the date the client took the pension funds. These documents concealed the illegal diversion of the assets of the retirement plan. Petitioner and another attorney also prepared an opinion letter that was submitted to Bankruptcy Court which contained misleading statements and omission of material facts in that it stated that the conversion of the retirement plan into an Employee Stock Ownership Plan was legal and proper. At the reinstatement hearing, Petitioner presented evidence that he had satisfied all of the conditions of his sentence and that his five-year probationary term was terminated early by the court. Petitioner also expressed remorse over his misconduct and had thirteen character witnesses testify on his behalf.
Rule Violation(s)
Discipline Imposed Reinstatement granted
Points of Law
Report/Opinion Download