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In re Schwartz

Supreme Court of New Jersey

May 28, 2019

In the Matter of Ronald Schwartz Attorney at Law

          Argued: January 17, 2019

         District Docket Nos. XIV-2017-0333E and XIV-2017-0344E

          Joseph A. Glyn appeared on behalf of the Office of Attorney Ethics.

          Respondent waived appearance for oral argument.

          DECISION

          Bonnie C. Frost, Chair

         To the Honorable Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

         This matter was before us on a disciplinary stipulation filed by the Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE), in which respondent admitted having violated RPC 1.15(a) (funds held in the trust account in excess of those reasonably sufficient to pay bank charges), RPC 1.15(d) and K 1:21-6 (recordkeeping deficiencies), RPC 8.1(a) (false statement of material fact to disciplinary authorities), RPC 8.1(b) (failure to cooperate with disciplinary authorities), and RPC 8.4(c) (conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation).

         We determine to impose a reprimand.

         Respondent was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1971. On July 15, 1985, he was suspended for three months for gross neglect of an appeal of a summary dispossess action. In re Schwartz, 99 N.J. 510 (1985). Respondent was reinstated by Court Order effective October 29, 1985. In re Schwartz, N.J. (1985).

         By Court Order dated September 7, 2016, respondent was declared ineligible to practice law for failure to pay the 2016 annual attorney assessment to the New Jersey Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection (CPF). On December 11, 2017, respondent was deemed eligible to practice law and his status in the attorney registration system was changed to "Retired."

         At all relevant times herein, respondent maintained a law office in Teaneck, New Jersey. At Bank of America (BOA), he maintained an attorney trust account (ATA) and an attorney business account (ABA).

         On May 31, 2017, BOA informed the OAE of a May 26, 2017 overdraft of $129.42 in respondent's ATA. On June 5, 2017, BOA reported a second, June 1, 2017 overdraft of $479.42. Consequently, by letters dated June 7 and June 8, 2017, the OAE asked respondent for a written explanation for the May 26 and June 1, 2017 overdrafts, and for his continued practice of law during his period of CPF ineligibility. Respondent failed to reply to those requests.

         On June 30, 2017, the OAE sent respondent another letter requesting information. On that same date, the OAE received respondent's explanation of the overdrafts. In respect of the allegation that he practiced law while ineligible, he asked, "Why do you say that I have been practicing law? I retired from my practice in 2016."

         On July 12, 2017, the OAE demanded copies of respondent's ATA and ABA bank statements from September 1, 2016 through the date of the letter, as well as canceled checks and deposit slips. On July 31, 2017, respondent sent to the OAE ATA bank statements for September 2016 through June 2017, and an ...


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