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Friday, May 22, 2009

Corrupt Legal Ethics Disparity Alive and Well in New York

Lawyers disciplined for handling of relative's trusts
The Albany Times Union by ROBERT GAVIN - May 22, 2009

ALBANY, NEW YORK -- A retired Albany attorney and his brother with four decades each of legal experience have received 1-year suspensions, but will be able to continue practicing law and must take ethics classes. Sholom Koplovitz, 70, a former Albany lawyer who now lives in Florida, and Joshua Koplovitz, 72, who still practices in Kingston, received stayed suspensions from the Appellate Division in a ruling announced Thursday. "It's serious, but we can continue to practice law," Joshua Koplovitz said when reached by phone this morning. "It was a one time thing ... I know I'll never do anything like that again." The Appellate Division ruling explained the brothers' uncle had "left several monetary bequests" to the brothers, as well as his niece, who is their cousin. His will named the brothers as executors and co-trustees of two trusts. The brothers later set up an annuity, which "accelerated the distribution of the remainder of that trust's funds to themselves and the cousin, contrary to the express terms of the will." Joshua Koplovitz said they did the move so his aunt could receive the "income she was entitled to." He acknowledged it was done without court permission. The aunt fought it. She successfully argued in Onondaga County Surrogate's Court that the brothers had "improperly applied the assets of the estate." The Appellate Division found the brothers were guilty of professional misconduct, but also noted they had made full restitution and there was no money lost to the trust or estate. Neither Koplovitz had a disciplinary record, the decision noted. The brothers "have expressed remorse, and their misconduct clearly appears to have been an aberration rather than part of a pattern of behavior," the decision stated. It immediately suspended the pair, but stayed the suspensions. Instead, it ordered the brothers to complete six credit hours of accredited continuing legal education in ethics and professionalism, in addition to other attorney requirements. Sholom Koplovitz has been a lawyer since 1964, Joshua Koplovitz since 1961.


Anonymous said...

What a total joke. Your suspended, but we'll stay that suspension.... Sounds like the old numbers game again. Show a suspension in the 'action' column, but in reality, it really wasn't a suspension.

I know lawyers who've made far less serious mistakes and weren't afforded any 'stay' of suspension.

These brothers know which asses to kiss, I guess.

Anonymous said...

they should hae lost thier Lic. for good. Most times that they do something like that the are never caught or the person dies and they keep the money.
letting them of so easy sends a message that you should weigh the odds of getting away with the theft not that theft is wrong.
i guess the aunt was old he figured she would never make it

Anonymous said...

These lawyers should NOT have had the suspension stayed. This is disgraceful. Someone made the phone call that made this happen.

disbarred attorney said...

I was disbarred for a lot less, they must be disbarred forever and sanctioned, make them pay money - who did they know? the fix was in on this one!

Anonymous said...

the two putzs made fullrestitution big deal, what about all the time this took from their sister (how long did all this take?), the aggraavation and the legal fees plus damages? I'll bet the two putza didn't pay a penny in restitution of the legal fees. So they didn't make her whole. Shame on them for stealing from their sister! May they rot in Hell.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

After reading this ,I beleive Don Williams will fit right in as Ulster County Judge.
The PEOPLE of ulster County will suffer tremendously for it though!

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