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Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 75106
Attorney Name Kotsopoulos, George
DBP Docket No. 86 DB 2005
Supreme Court Docket No. 994 DD No. 3
County Chester
Disciplinary Counsel Suzy S. Moore
Counsel for Respondent John Rogers Carroll
Decision Date 2006-12-21
Effective Date 2006-12-21
Case Digest This was a criminal conviction case. Respondent entered a plea of nolo contendere to three counts of tampering with public records or information in violation of 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 49119(A)(1), by providing a false notary. The judge sentenced him to 18 months reporting probation and court costs. The factual basis for Respondent’s pleas is that he falsely attested that a person named William Leibowitz, using the alias of Howard C. Goldman, had signed mortgage documents in his presence at two settlements, when in fact these documents had not been signed in Respondent’s presence. At the disciplinary hearing, Respondent testified that an individual representing himself to be Howard C. Goldman gave him the documents at the settlements and represented to Respondent that he had signed them in advance. The documents were later recorded in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds. The mortgages involved were satisfied and no loss was suffered by the lenders or any other party to the transactions. The Supreme Court placed Respondent on temporary suspension by order dated June 6, 2005. At his disciplinary hearing, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel presented evidence that Respondent engaged in the unauthorized practice of law while on suspension by writing a letter of representation on behalf of a family friend. Respondent admitted that he wrote the letter. The Disciplinary Board found that Respondent’s unauthorized practice was at most a de minimus act and that it did not warrant consideration as an aggravating factor. The Disciplinary Board recommended a six-month suspension retroactive to the date Respondent was placed on temporary suspension. The Supreme Court entered a six-month suspension order retroactive to June 6, 2005.
Rule Violation(s) Pa.R.D.E. 203(b)(1); Pa.R.D.E. 214(i); RPC 8.4(b)
Discipline Imposed Six-Month Suspension retroactive to date of temporary suspension
Points of Law Because Respondent had been on temporary suspension for approximately one year and four months by the time the Disciplinary Board Report was signed, the Disciplinary Board recommended a short suspension rather than a public censure to shelter Respondent from the “additional embarrassment and humiliation of a public censure.” The Disciplinary Board found that “A short suspension addresses Respondent’s criminal misconduct without subjecting him to more discipline than is warranted.”
Report/Opinion Download