Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 22811
Attorney Name DíAiello, Jr., Russell F.
DBP Docket No. 83 DB 2000
Supreme Court Docket No. 587 DD No. 3
County York
Disciplinary Counsel Edwin W. Frese Jr.
Counsel for Respondent Gerald Anthony Lord
Decision Date 2001-12-28
Effective Date 2000-06-16
Case Digest On February 7, 1994, Respondent completed a loan application to a credit union for $20,000 loan. A few days later, a mortgage broker advised Respondent that he would not qualify for the loan with the information he originally listed and that Respondent should understate the balance due on his first mortgage by $10,000 and not list his monthly support obligation. Respondent agreed and submitted the fraudulent loan application, which was granted. About 6 months later, the Respondent sold his office building and paid off the mortgage and $20,000 loan. Even though Respondent submitted only one application, he subsequently obtained several loans, all of which were repaid. Respondent learned of the FBI investigation in 1996, entered into a plea agreement with the US Attorney in 1998, wherein he agreed to plead guilty to one count of False Loan Application, 18 U.S.C. ß1014. The plea was accepted in December of 1998 but sentencing was deferred. Respondent was sentenced on February 16, 2000 to 30 days incarceration, followed by 2 years probation. He was also fined $7500. He was temporarily suspended in Federal Court on March 13, 2000 and temporarily suspended in PA by Order dated June 16, 2000. Respondentís wife also pleaded guilty to a similar offense, but Respondent claimed he was not involved in that transaction. Respondent cooperated with the FBI in its investigation of the mortgage broker. Respondent admitted the facts alleged in the Petition for Discipline. Respondent did not testify on direct. Called on cross-examination by Disciplinary Counsel, Respondent testified that he moved to York County in 1990, but had previously served two full terms as the elected District Attorney in Cameron County. Respondent presented one character witness, a colleague and friend, who testified that Respondent was remorseful for his misconduct. Respondent had no record of prior discipline.
Rule Violation(s) 8.4(b); 8.4(c); conviction independent basis for discipline, Rule 203(b)(1).
Discipline Imposed Two year suspension retroactive to 6/16/2000
Points of Law "Respondentís misconduct raises serious questions concerning his character. After more than twenty years of legal practice with no history of ethical infractions, including two stints as District Attorney of Cameron County, Respondent allowed himself in quite an easy fashion to be persuaded to commit fraud for his personal gain. The dishonest and fraudulent nature of Respondentís conduct establishes his unfitness to practice law." (Bd.Rpt. p8)
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