Disciplinary Actions from the Most Recent Journal

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Most Recent Actions

Disbarments

The DHC disbarred Sybil Barrett of Charlotte. The DHC concluded that Barrett misappropriated funds she held in trust for payment of taxes in two real estate closings.

L. Pendleton Hayes of Pinehurst tendered her affidavit of surrender and was disbarred by the State Bar Council at its October 2014 meeting. Hayes acknowledged that she misappropriated over $400,000 in entrusted funds and engaged in fraudulent bank transactions.

Freddie Lane Jr. of Fayetteville tendered his affidavit of surrender and was disbarred by the State Bar Council at its October 2014 meeting. Lane acknowledged that he misappropriated at least $500,000 in entrusted funds and failed to file and pay federal and state income and withholding taxes.

Christopher Vaughn of Raeford misappropriated entrusted funds, neglected numerous clients' cases, did not respond to the State Bar, and knowingly made false representations to the State Bar. He surrendered his law license and was disbarred by the DHC.

Scott Spransy of Charlotte misappropriated entrusted client funds for his personal use, neglected his clients' case, did not communicate with his clients, and did not maintain adequate trust account records. He was disbarred by the DHC.

Suspensions & Stayed Suspensions

Jerry Braswell of Goldsboro deposited into his trust account a fraudulent check that he received as part of an apparent scam. Braswell instructed the bank to wire funds to the source of the fraudulent check, thereby disbursing funds out of his trust account against provisionally credited funds from an instrument that he could not have reasonably believed was certain to be honored and that was in an amount in excess of what his assets or credit could fund if it was dishonored. Braswell also did not file a bank directive, did not promptly disburse his earned fees from the trust account, did not maintain an accurate ledger, and did not reconcile his trust account. The DHC suspended Braswell for two years. The suspension is stayed for two years upon his compliance with numerous conditions.

Lori M. Glenn of Raleigh did not communicate with a client, was not diligent, did not reconcile her trust account, and did not properly maintain and disburse client funds. The DHC suspended her law license for three years. After serving one year active, she may petition for a stay of the balance upon showing compliance with numerous conditions.

Robert E. Griffin of Fuquay-Varina did not communicate with a client, was not diligent, engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, did not refund unearned fees, did not reconcile his trust account, did not deposit entrusted funds into his trust account, commingled his funds with entrusted funds, did not properly maintain and disburse client funds, and did not supervise a nonattorney assistant. The DHC suspended him for three years. After serving six months active suspension, Griffin may petition for a stay of the balance upon showing compliance with numerous conditions.

Lynne Hicks of Mocksville mishandled entrusted funds, did not provide written accountings of entrusted funds, and did not maintain proper trust account records. The DHC suspended her for two years. The suspension is stayed for three years upon compliance with numerous conditions.

Christopher Rahilly of Elizabeth City sent obscene photographs via text message to three domestic clients, had sexual relations with one client, and wrote off one client's bills without authorization from his law firm employer. He also made multiple false statements to the State Bar. The DHC suspended him for five years.

Conan Lee Schwilm of Charlotte had sex with a client and continued to be involved in the representation of the client. The DHC suspended him for two years. The suspension is stayed for two years upon compliance with numerous conditions.

Censures

Peter R. Shedor of Cary was censured by the Grievance Committee for disbursing funds improperly in real estate transactions. Shedor issued commission checks to real estate agents in violation of the Good Funds Settlement Act (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 45A-4 and Rule 1.15-2(a) and (m) of the Rules of Professional Conduct). He also disbursed funds for closings before all funds required for those closings were deposited into his trust account.

Russell Warnock of Winchester, Kentucky, was censured by the Grievance Committee. Warnock neglected his client's patent application, did not communicate with his client, and misrepresented the status of the patent application to his client. Warnock also did not cooperate with the Grievance Committee.

Reprimands

Victoria Block of New Bern was reprimanded by the Grievance Committee. Block did not act diligently in handling administration and tax issues for the estate of her client's brother. She also lacked competence to handle the tax issues and did not communicate with her client.

William P. Bray of Charlotte was reprimanded by the Grievance Committee. Bray did not keep his client informed about the status of the client's case. He also conditioned settlement of a lawsuit he brought against the client to collect attorney fees upon the client's withdrawing grievances he had filed with the State Bar.

Hilda Burnett-Baker of Raleigh was reprimanded by the Grievance Committee. In a bankruptcy proceeding, Burnett-Baker made a false statement of material fact to a tribunal and/or failed to correct a false statement of material fact she had previously made to the tribunal.

Kenneth A. Free Jr. of Greensboro was reprimand by the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. The court found Free failed to file a notice of appeal on his client's behalf knowing that his client wanted to exercise his right to appeal. The court previously found that Free provided ineffective assistance of counsel to his client.

Isham Faison Hicks of Raleigh was reprimanded by the Wake County Superior Court. On two occasions Hicks intentionally signed verifications of attendance at separate CLE programs claiming full credit for attendance when he had not attended all of the course hours and was therefore not entitled to the full credit hours he claimed.

Scott Ingersoll of Creston was reprimanded by the Grievance Committee. Ingersoll filed an affidavit containing an assertion that was refuted by documents in his possession and in the court file. In the same case, after being warned by the court about being accurate in court filings, Ingersoll submitted an affidavit of time containing numerous inaccuracies.

Eric Levine of Charlotte was reprimanded by the Grievance Committee. Levine did not file a required prehearing statement in his client's contested case.

William Noel III of Henderson was reprimanded by the Grievance Committee. Noel neglected his client's traffic case, did not communicate with his client, did not supervise his nonlawyer assistant, did not refund an unearned fee, and did not participate in the State Bar's mandatory fee dispute resolution program.

Transfers to Disability Inactive Status

Kevin L. Byrd of Cary was transferred to disability inactive status by the chair of the Grievance Committee.

Reinstatements

In November 2007, Ralph Bryant of Newport surrendered his license and was disbarred by the DHC for misappropriating entrusted funds totaling $64,847. In August 2014 the DHC recommended that his petition for reinstatement be denied. The DHC found that reinstatement would be detrimental to the integrity and standing of the Bar, the administration of justice, or to the public's interest. The council will consider Bryant's appeal after he submits the record on appeal.

Notices of Intent to Seek Reinstatement

Individuals who wish to note their concurrence with or opposition to this petition should file written notice with the secretary of the State Bar, PO Box 25908, Raleigh, NC 27611, before February 1, 2015.

In the Matter of Hilton S. Mitchell

Notice is hereby given that Hilton S. Mitchell intends to file a petition for reinstatement. Mitchell surrender his law license and was disbarred on December 18, 2009, for depositing legal fees into his account rather than forwarding them to the law firm of Brock & Scott in which he was employed.

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