||Respondent as an associate in a firm represented the out-of-state personal representative of a local estate. Respondent caused an estate account to be opened and had the client, the sole signatory, sign some checks in blank to facilitate the administration of the estate.
Without the clientís knowledge or authority, and utilizing the signed estate checks, the Respondent over a period of six months wrote to himself or to cash six checks totaling $1,875. The Respondent cashed the checks and converted the proceeds to his personal use, making restitution only after the firm determined his misuse of the funds subsequent to his leaving the firmís employment.
The facts and the Rule violations were stipulated with a hearing held to primarily take evidence on the degree of discipline warranted by the misconduct. The Respondentís Clinical Social Worker testified that his Attention Deficit Disorder (ďADHDĒ), diagnosed after the conversions, was the causal reason for the misconduct. The Petitionerís expert, a forensic psychologist, found no degree of any causal relationship, that the Respondent knew both what he was doing and that it was wrong, and that he had the ability to act appropriately at the times of the conversions. Three character witnesses testified to the Respondentís good reputation, but acknowledged that what he had done was dishonest.
The Hearing Committee and the Disciplinary Board found no causal relationship between the ADHD and the misconduct and after consideration of mitigating factors recommended periods of suspension and probationary terms. The Court, By per curiam order, imposed a one year suspension, followed by a year of probation with practice and financial monitors.