IN THE MATTER OF STUART I. RICH AN ATTORNEY AT LAW
Argued: November 16, 2017
Disciplinary Review Board Bonnie C. Frost, Chair Ellen A.
Brodsky Chief Counsel.
Racz appeared on behalf of the Office of Attorney Ethics.
did not appear, despite proper service.
Honorable Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme
Court of New Jersey.
matter was before us on a motion for final discipline filed
by the Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE) following
respondent's guilty plea in the New York Supreme Court to
one count of fifth-degree criminal tax fraud, in violation of
20 N.Y.C.R.R. §1802, a Class A misdemeanor
under §70.14 of the New York Penal Code. The
OAE requests the imposition of a two-year suspension for
respondent's violation of RPC 8.4(b) (criminal
act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty,
trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer) and RPC 8.4(c)
(conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or
misrepresentation). For the reasons stated below, we
determine to grant the motion for final discipline and impose
a two-year prospective suspension on respondent for his
was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1991. In 1992, he was
admitted to the New York and Pennsylvania bars. It appears
that respondent does not practice law in New Jersey.
has no disciplinary history in New Jersey. However, the Court
entered an Order, effective August 28, 2017, declaring
respondent ineligible to practice, based on his failure to
pay his annual registration fee to the New Jersey
Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection.
25, 2016, a criminal complaint was filed against respondent
in the Criminal Court of the City of New York, County of New
York, State of New York, charging him with four counts of
second-degree criminal tax fraud, in violation of New York
Tax Law §1805, and four counts of fifth-degree criminal
tax fraud, in violation of New York Tax Law §1802. The
complaint alleged that respondent had not filed state income
tax returns for the years 2008 through 2013, despite earned
partnership income ranging from $583, 342 to $852, 422.
unidentified date in 2016, upon respondent's waiver of
indictment, the district attorney for the County of New York
filed a nine-count information against respondent, charging
him with three counts of second-degree criminal tax fraud, in
violation of 20 N.Y.C.R.R. §1805, based on his
willful failure to file a New York State resident income tax
return for the years 2010 through 2012; one count of
fifth-degree criminal tax fraud, in violation of 20
N.Y.C.R.R. §1805, based on his willful failure
to file a New York State resident income tax return for the
year 2013; and four counts of repeated failure to file
personal income and earnings taxes, in violation of 20
N.Y.C.R.R. §1808(a), based on his failure to
file a tax return for three consecutive years and
corresponding unpaid tax liability. The
repeated-failure-to-file charges covered the following time
periods: January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2011; January 1,
2010 to December 31, 2012; January 1, 2011 to December 2013;
and January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2014.
2, 2016, respondent pleaded guilty to the single count of
fifth-degree criminal tax fraud. He testified that he
willfully failed to file a New York State personal income tax
return for the years 2008 through 2013 and that, for each of
those years, he had a tax liability of more than $50, 000. He
admitted that, in doing so, he intentionally evaded paying
taxes to the State of New York for each of those years.
agreed to pay nearly $1.2 million in back taxes, including
penalties and interest. He was sentenced to a one-year
conditional discharge, which was to expire on June 1, 2017.
unidentified date, respondent notified the OAE of his
a review of the record, we determine to grant the OAE's
motion. A criminal conviction is conclusive evidence of
.guilt in a disciplinary proceeding. R. l:20-13(c) (1);
In re Magid, 139 M.J. 449, 451 (1995); In re
Principato, 139 N.J. 456, 460 (1995). Respondent's
conviction establishes a violation of RFC 8.4(b).
Pursuant to that Rule, it is professional misconduct
for an attorney to "commit a criminal act that reflects
adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or
fitness as a lawyer." The facts underlying
respondent's conviction also establish that he engaged in
conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or
misrepresentation, a violation of RPC ...