The state Supreme Court yanked Magor Julian Denes’ license last month, ending his seven-year law career.
Denes came to the attention of the Washington State Bar Association in 2012, when a former client filed a grievance. The Everett man accused Denes of mishandling the man’s funds and revealing privileged information to his estranged wife’s lawyer. Denes had represented the man for about six months in 2009.
The bar association launched an investigation, probing the trust accounts Denes used to hold clients’ money. Investigators also interviewed the Everett man and his wife’s lawyer and deposed Denes.
The investigation revealed that Denes repeatedly deposited money for his client into a trust account and provided the man with cash in an effort to hide assets. The lawyer also filed documents with the court that didn’t accurately reflect his client’s finances and lied to the opposing lawyer about how much was in the trust account, according to the bar’s findings.
For example, Denes filed a court document saying his client had about $500 in the bank. Meanwhile, there was nearly $50,000 in the lawyer-controlled trust account. Denes opened a second trust account and deposited a check from the man for nearly $330,000. The check came from the client’s stock investments, which he had claimed to have already sold.
The court had prohibited the man and his wife from “transferring, moving, encumbering, concealing or in any way disposing of any property” shortly after the man filed for divorce in 2008.
Denes eventually admitted that he’d deposited the money. He said that his client told him that money came from an inheritance. That contradicts what he told the lawyer for his client’s wife, according to the records.
Denes “made a false statement, under penalty of perjury, about his knowledge of the source of funds belonging” to his client, the records said.
An audit also found that Denes didn’t pay his client all funds due to him after the man found a new lawyer. Denes owed the man about $2,800.
The bar found that Denes violated several rules of professional conduct. It also found that he “committed the crime of false swearing. The presumptive sanction is disbarment.”
In the end, Denes agreed to be disbarred. He also waived his right to appeal any findings with the bar’s Disciplinary Board, or the state Supreme Court.
It is unclear if Denes will face any criminal charges. The bar association has the authority to release information to law enforcement if its investigation turns up evidence of a crime, spokeswoman Debra Carnes said.
She said, however, she is prohibited from discussing specific cases and she declined to say whether the bar has forwarded its investigation to police.
False swearing is a gross misdemeanor.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; email@example.com
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