||Respondent was charged with misappropriating client settlement funds by depositing the entirety of those funds into his wife’s personal account upon receipt and, thereafter, converting those funds to his own use. Respondent was also charged with creating false billing records in an effort to conceal his misconduct.
Respondent argued that either: his client had voluntarily entered in to a verbal agreement to be charged legal fees at a higher rate; the judge in the underlying litigation directed that Respondent receive the entirety of the settlement proceeds as his fee; or by the terms of the initial retainer certain “triggering events” had taken place permitting him to charge a higher hourly rate and therefore the entire fee was equal to the settlement funds received. Respondent also offered the testimony of his wife and approximately fourteen character witnesses.
The Board concluded that the evidence did not clearly and satisfactorily demonstrate that Respondent had converted funds and fabricated legal bills to conceal the conversion.