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DISBARMENT

David K. Arase, State Bar #233705, Newport Beach (April 24, 2013). Arase, 34, was disbarred for failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline and failing to promptly refund unearned fees.

In aggravation, Arase had a record of prior discipline, and he engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed his clients, the public, and the administration of justice. In mitigation, Arase cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect May 24, 2013

Sarah J. Davis, State Bar #258014, Hayward (April 12, 2013). Davis, 36, was disbarred following her conviction for violating North Dakota Century Code § 12.1-22-02(1), burglary, a felony involving moral turpitude. The conviction is now final, and the State Bar concluded that it met the criteria for summary disbarment. The order took effect May 12, 2013
Rodney L. Dyche, State Bar #246847, Tyler, TX (April 12, 2013). Dyche, 48, was disbarred for failing to participate in a disciplinary proceeding after receiving adequate notice and opportunity to do so. He had been charged with failing to refund unearned fees, failing to return a client file, and failing to cooperate in a disciplinary investigation. The order took effect May 12, 2013
Jan M. Heger, State Bar #87441, Irvine (April 12, 2013). Heger, 70, was disbarred for failing to participate in a disciplinary proceeding after receiving adequate notice and opportunity to do so. He had been charged with willfully disobeying or violating a court order. The order took effect May 12, 2013
Robert A. Karpuk, State Bar #93322, Malibu (April 12, 2013). Karpuk, 60, was disbarred after being convicted of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude.

In 2011 Karpuk took a bottle of vitamins from a pharmacy without paying for it. A loss-prevention employee of the store observed his actions and contacted the Ventura County sheriff’s department. Karpuk was cited for violating Penal Code § 484(a), petty theft, and released. He was charged with one count of petty theft and pleaded no contest.

In aggravation, Karpuk had a record of prior discipline. He was on disciplinary probation at the time he committed the petty theft, and he displayed indifference toward rectification of or atonement for his misconduct. The order took effect May 12, 2013

Marc R. Levine, State Bar #113671, Palm Desert (April 12, 2013). Levine, 53, was disbarred for failing to comply with rule 9.20 of the Rules of Court.

In aggravation, Levine had a record of prior discipline. In mitigation, at the time of his misconduct Levine was recovering from substance abuse and emotional problems. The order took effect May 12, 2013

John W. Rhee, State Bar #114109, Los Angeles (April 22, 2013). Rhee, 55, was disbarred for failing to obey a court order, failing to report judicial sanctions, seeking to mislead a judge, failing to inform a client of a significant development, engaging in the unauthorized practice of law, and committing acts involving moral turpitude.

In aggravation, Rhee had a record of prior discipline. Also, he engaged in multiple acts of misconduct that harmed his clients. The order took effect May 22, 2013

Robert B. Serian, State Bar #96170, Valencia (April 22, 2013). Serian, 58, was disbarred for failing to maintain client funds in trust, misappropriating funds, issuing trust account checks against insufficient funds, failing to obey a court order, and failing to cooperate in a State Bar investigation. The order took effect May 22, 2013
James C. Weseman, State Bar #106684, Del Mar (April 22, 2013). Weseman, 63, was disbarred for failing to comply with rule 9.20 of the Rules of Court and failing to participate in a disciplinary proceeding after receiving adequate notice and opportunity to do so. In aggravation, Weseman had a record of prior discipline. The order took effect May 22, 2013
Daniel J. White, State Bar #126482, Placerville (April 12, 2013). White, 53, was disbarred for failing to participate in a disciplinary proceeding after receiving adequate notice and opportunity to do so. He had been charged with failing to competently perform legal services, failing to promptly respond to client inquiries, improperly withdrawing from representation, and failing to cooperate in a disciplinary investigation. The order took effect May 12, 2013
Antonia I. Woghiren, State Bar #208483, Riverside (April 22, 2013). Woghiren, 48, was disbarred for failing to participate in a disciplinary proceeding after receiving adequate notice and opportunity to do so. She had been charged with unauthorized practice of law, charging illegal fees, failing to promptly pay client funds, misappropriating funds, engaging in acts of moral turpitude, and failing to cooperate in a State Bar investigation. The order took effect May 22, 2013

SUSPENSION

John C. Elstead, State Bar #61048, Oakland (April 17, 2013). Elstead, 70, was suspended for six months and placed on two years of probation for charging an illegal fee, accepting fees from a nonclient, failing to promptly pay client funds, failing to render accounts, failing to refund unearned fees, and engaging in acts involving moral turpitude.

In 2004 a client filed a medical malpractice action and consulted with Elstead to review the medical records. Elstead discovered fraud based on medical records that had been falsified, and he informed the client. Elstead agreed to take the case and charged a 40 percent contingency fee, which was greater than allowed by the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act. In November 2004 Elstead filed an amended complaint that added the fraud causes of action. The case eventually went to mediation and settled for $300,000. The client sent Elstead letters requesting an itemized bill, but Elstead never provided an itemized breakdown of costs to the client.

In a second matter, a client was convicted of multiple fraud crimes. Elstead reviewed the matter and recorded approximately 28 hours of work investigating the client’s appeal. He failed to provide an accounting for his fees and received a payment of $15,000 from two of the client’s relatives on the client’s behalf. However, Elstead did not obtain the client’s written consent to accept payment from the relatives.

In aggravation, Elstead had a record of prior discipline. Also, he engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing. The order took effect May 16, 2013

Abel Hernandez, State Bar #159902, San Antonio, TX (April 24, 2013). Hernandez, 55, was suspended for 90 days and placed on two years of probation for failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline.

In aggravation, Hernandez had a record of prior discipline. Also, he engaged in multiple acts of misconduct. The order took effect May 24, 2013

Jon J. McGrath, State Bar #237893, Dana Point (April 10, 2013). McGrath, 38, was suspended for 30 days and placed on two years of probation for accepting advance fees to provide loan modification services in violation of Civil Code § 2944.7(a), and engaging in acts involving moral turpitude.

In aggravation, McGrath engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed clients. In mitigation, he cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect May 10, 2013

Mark A. Posner, State Bar #94714, Culver City (April 24, 2013). Posner, 61, was suspended for 90 days and placed on two years of probation for commingling funds, engaging in the unauthorized practice of law while under administrative suspension, and failing to cooperate in a disciplinary investigation.

In aggravation, Posner engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, Posner had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1980. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect May 24, 2013

Raymond C. Prospero, State Bar #238087, Corona (April 12, 2013). Prospero, 34, was suspended for one year and placed on three years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services and failing to refund unearned fees.

In aggravation, Prospero had a record of prior discipline. Also, his misconduct significantly harmed clients. In mitigation, Prospero cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect May 12, 2013

William G. Schweizer, State Bar #68546, Downey (April 12, 2013). Schweizer, 66, was suspended for 90 days and placed on two years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to communicate with clients, failing to obey a court order, and failing to cooperate with a disciplinary investigation.

In aggravation, Schweizer engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that caused significant harm to clients. In mitigation, Schweizer had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1976. The order took effect May 12, 2013

Starr J. Sinton, State Bar #60017, San Diego (April 24, 2013). Sinton, 65, was suspended for 30 days and placed on one year of probation for falsely reporting to the State Bar that he was in compliance with MCLE requirements, an act involving moral turpitude.

In mitigation, Sinton had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1974. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect May 24, 2013

Alexander W. Tucker, State Bar #202794, El Cajon (April 22, 2013). Tucker, 76, was suspended for four months and placed on one year of probation for failing to render proper accounts. In mitigation, Tucker had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1999. The order took effect May 22, 2013
Paul E. Vallone, State Bar #168395, Martinez (April 17, 2013). Vallone, 48, was suspended for two years and placed on three years of probation for violating conditions to a previous order of discipline.

In aggravation, Vallone had a record of prior discipline. Also, he engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that demonstrated indifference toward rectification of or atonement for his misconduct. Also, he failed to participate in the disciplinary proceeding. The order took effect May 16, 2013

Luis E. Vasquez, State Bar #162798, Santa Ana (April 22, 2013). Vasquez, 51, was suspended for 90 days and placed on two years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services and failing to respond to client inquiries.

In aggravation, Vasquez had a record of prior discipline. Moreover, his misconduct seriously harmed his client. The order took effect May 22, 2013

Stephen D. Zuckerman, State Bar #47329, Los Angeles (April 22, 2013). Zuckerman, 71, was suspended for 60 days and placed on two years of probation for falsely reporting to the State Bar that he had completed his MCLE requirement, an act involving moral turpitude.

In mitigation, Zuckerman had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1970, and he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect May 22, 2013

PROBATION

John M. Ebner, State Bar #100618, Long Beach (April 10, 2013). Ebner, 63, was placed on two years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to promptly respond to a client’s reasonable status inquiries, failing to render proper accounts, failing to promptly refund unearned fees, and failing to cooperate in a disciplinary investigation.

In aggravation, Ebner’s misconduct demonstrated a pattern of wrongdoing. In mitigation, Ebner had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1981. Also, he cooperated with the investigation and proceedings by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect May 10, 2013

Louisa B. Pensanti, State Bar #200988, Sherman Oaks (April 16, 2013). Pensanti, 64, was placed on one year of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to promptly return unearned fees, and appearing for a party without authority.

In August 2008 a client retained Pensanti to represent him in an appeal. Pensanti was paid $10,000 in advance fees for her legal services. Although the court granted Pensanti two extensions to file her opening brief, she failed to timely file and the appeal was dismissed. Pensanti wrote to the client informing him that her office had not filed the appeal brief, and she assured him that she would remedy the situation. Pensanti then failed to take any action on behalf of her client.

The client later terminated Pensanti’s representation and retained new counsel. When Pensanti received letters informing her of her termination, she failed to provide a refund to the client. In addition, she filed a motion for reinstatement of the appeal without the client’s authorization and consent. Later, after disciplinary proceedings had begun, Pensanti paid full restitution to her client.

In mitigation, Pensanti had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1999. She cooperated in the investigation and proceedings, and demonstrated remorse for her misconduct. The order took effect May 15, 2013

Rick L. Raynsford, State Bar #105157, Mission Viejo (April 22, 2013). Raynsford, 56, was placed on two years of probation for failing to return unearned fees and improperly withdrawing from representation.

In June 2009 Raynsford was hired to negotiate and obtain a home loan modification. Later that month the clients decided to terminate his services and demanded a refund, but Raynsford did not refund the money until July 2011.

In mitigation, Raynsford had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1982. Also, he cooperated with the State Bar’s investigation and proceedings, and expressed remorse for his actions The order took effect May 22, 2013

There are no recent disciplinary actions of this type.