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Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 8380
Attorney Name Mackarey, Albert B.
DBP Docket No. 158 DB 2000
Supreme Court Docket No. 724 D.D. No. 3
County Lackawanna
Disciplinary Counsel Edwin W. Frese, Jr.
Counsel for Respondent Christopher T. Powell
Decision Date 2002-03-11
Effective Date 2002-04-10
Case Digest During the years 1995 and 1996, Respondent was an approved attorney for a title insurance company and handled three residential real estate transactions wherein he collected title insurance premiums and commissions totaling about $3700 which funds he commingled with his own in his one and only account and subsequently converted to his own use and purposes without ever sending in the insurance premiums or additional documentation necessary for the title company to issue owner and lender policies. The title insurance company eventually hired other counsel to duplicate the work Respondent was to have done and issued policies. Respondent reimbursed the insurance company in 1999. Respondent admitted the facts and rules charged against him. He testified he needed the money. At the time of the hearing, Respondent was almost 74 years of age, HAVING practiced for 44 years without any prior disciplinary problems. Respondent testified that at the time of his misconduct his diabetes was not under control, making him forgetful, lethargic and depressed. Further, he testified that his wife had had two hip operations in 1995-1997, that she was bedridden, and that he spent most of his time taking care of her instead of practicing law. Finally, he testified he was winding down his practice and only had 10-15 active clients. Despite the mitigation, the Hearing Committee concluded that Respondent knowingly and intentionally violated the Rules and recommended a three month suspension, which is what Disciplinary Counsel had sought. No exceptions were filed and the Board and Court agreed.
Rule Violation(s) 1.3; 1.15(a); 1.15(b); 8.4(c).
Discipline Imposed 3 month suspension
Points of Law Knowing conversion of funds of others warrants a period of suspension. “Clearly less than a suspension would not adequately address the intentional and dishonest nature of Respondent’s acts.” (Bd.Rpt.p11) “An attorney’s personal financial difficulties in no way mitigates [sic] the seriousness of misconduct involving client funds. ODC v. Knepp, 441 A.2d 1197 (1982).” (Bd.Rpt.p10) Respondent’s age and impending retirement influenced outcome.
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