Lawyer one step closer to disbarment

By SCOTT NORTH

Herald Writer

A local attorney has moved one step closer to potentially losing her license to practice law in the wake of allegations that she engaged in systematic fraud and theft in north Snohomish County and elsewhere.

A default judgment has been entered against Mickie Jarvill, 56, in a disciplinary action pending before the Washington State Bar Association, a spokeswoman for the statewide lawyers’ organization said Tuesday.

The move came Oct. 18 after Jarvill did not respond to the bar association’s call for her side of the story in the allegations against her, spokeswoman Judy Berrett said.

Jarvill’s license to practice law was indefinitely suspended in April after bar association investigators said they had found evidence she allegedly looted a trust fund of more than $500,000. If proven, the allegations could support disbarment, according to bar association documents.

Because Jarvill did not respond, the allegations have been admitted as facts that can be used against her in subsequent disciplinary hearings, Berrett said.

"She’s had her chance," she said.

Jarvill could not be reached for comment. A phone call Wednesday to her Camano Island home went unanswered.

A disciplinary hearings officer has yet to recommend what should happen in Jarvill’s case. A decision is expected later this year. Once that occurs, the recommendation will be reviewed by a disciplinary board. If disbarment is recommended, the matter will be sent to the state Supreme Court, which oversees attorney discipline in Washington, Berrett said.

Jarvill was once prominent in land development issues around Smokey Point, where she formerly operated a law practice.

She and her husband, Michael, 55, are the focus of an FBI investigation into alleged mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, aiding and abetting, and conspiracy, court papers show. No charges have been filed.

Federal agents in August searched the couple’s home and an Arlington storage unit, seizing business records dating back to the early 1990s.

The Jarvills’ financial dealings have been under scrutiny since the summer of 1999, when Snohomish County Sheriff Rick Bart asked the FBI to investigate.

Mickie Jarvill’s troubles were first detailed by The Herald in a July 1999 report in which she acknowledged that she and her husband, who also is a lawyer, have a business debt of about $2.5 million.

Documents obtained by the newspaper show at least $1.5 million owed to individuals who loaned money to the couple or invested in land-development deals. Some of the people who stand to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars are retirees in Snohomish and Island counties whom Mickie Jarvill said she befriended while representing them in legal matters.

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