In the Matter of: Michael P. KREBES, Respondent
Loretta H. Rush, Chief Justice of Indiana. All Justices concur.
Loretta H. Rush, Chief
PUBLISHED ORDER APPROVING STATEMENT OF CIRCUMSTANCES AND CONDITIONAL AGREEMENT FOR DISCIPLINE
Pursuant to Indiana Admission and Discipline Rule 23(11), the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission and Respondent have submitted for approval a " Statement of Circumstances and Conditional Agreement for Discipline" stipulating agreed facts and proposed discipline as summarized below:
Respondent employed L.G. from 2002 until 2013 as a paralegal, secretary, and office manager for his private practice. Respondent delegated to L.G. authority for establishing attorney-client relationships. On several occasions, L.G. collected client filing fees and converted those fees for her own personal use, and on at least two occasions L.G. provided clients with fabricated notices of automatic stay in order to conceal her conversion of bankruptcy filing fees. L.G. also stole client funds from Respondent's trust account. In sum, L.G. misappropriated about $103,000 from Respondent's clients. L.G.'s improper actions were caused, in part, by Respondent's failure to appropriately supervise her and by Respondent's improper delegation of authority to her.
Respondent has made restitution payments of about $67,000 directly to some affected clients and has made payments of about $36,000 to other attorneys so that other affected clients could secure successor counsel to have their bankruptcy matters completed.
Aggravating and mitigating facts. The parties indicate there are no facts in aggravation. The parties cite the following facts in mitigation: (1) Respondent was candid and cooperative with the Commission; (2) Respondent admitted to all charged facts and alleged rule violations; (3) Respondent took immediate responsibility for his failure to supervise L.G.; (4) Respondent made restitution to the affected clients; and (5) Respondent has no prior disciplinary history.
The parties agree that Respondent violated these Indiana Professional Conduct Rules prohibiting the following misconduct:
5.3(a): Failure to make reasonable efforts to ensure that the lawyer's firm has taken measures to assure that a nonlawyer employee's conduct is compatible with the professional obligations of the lawyer.
5.3(b): Failure to make reasonable efforts to ensure that the conduct of a nonlawyer employee over whom the lawyer has direct supervisory authority is compatible with the professional obligations of the lawyer.
Guideline 9.1: Failure to discharge responsibilities regarding supervision of nonlawyer employees.
Guideline 9.3(a): Delegating to a nonlawyer assistant responsibility for establishing an ...