The Georgia Supreme Court called out the State Bar on Monday for its meek punishment of a fraudulent lawyer, calling the proposed sanction “troubling” in its unanimous rejection of his petition for voluntary suspension.
The Bar had agreed to a six month to one year retroactive suspension for Michael J.C. Shaw for using fake identities to bilk Greenberg Traurig of nearly $500,000 by posing as a third-party vendor on invoices.
Justice David Nahmias attacked the suggested sanction in his concurring opinion, writing, “In my view, Michael J. C. Shaw is fortunate not to be incarcerated in a state or federal prison for the half-million-dollar fraud he perpetrated against his employer…I expect that most members of the Bar, and almost every citizen in this State, would be equally disturbed by that concept of attorney discipline.”
Shaw was a bankruptcy and foreclosure associate at Greenberg Traurig when he billed the firm nearly $493,000 from 2003 to 2009 by submitting invoices as a third-party vendor under assumed names (he went as far as to file fraudulent W-9s with a social security number gleaned from federal bankruptcy filings) for work he had done, and then deposited the checks into his personal accounts.
The firm uncovered the misconduct in the summer of 2009. He was fired and subsequently cooperated with the firm’s investigation and coughed up $526,922 to the firm, per their request.
Shaw requested a retroactive six to 12 month suspension, to which the Georgia State Bar agreed. He is not charged with a crime.
Read more at ABA Journal.
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