Legal Ethics

Lawyer is disbarred for dealings with partners in soured real-estate venture

A New Jersey lawyer who had two previous run-ins with ethics authorities has now been disbarred because of his dealings with partners in a real estate business.

The New Jersey Supreme Court disbarred Vincent Paragano in an opinion (PDF) issued last week, the New Jersey Star-Ledger and the Legal Profession Blog report.

According to an opinion by the Disciplinary Review Board, Paragano handled money matters for the three-person partnership, which disbanded after the partners’ relationship soured. A 2003 settlement agreement provided the partnership would allow a contract to lapse for the purchase of a Jersey City property and the partners would forfeit the down payment.

But Paragano had already purchased the property using the deposit money, a fact he failed to disclose to his partners, according to findings by a special master. The special master also found that Paragano filed false documents in the disciplinary case to support his claim that the partners were aware of the purchase.

Paragano had received a private reprimand in 1989 for improperly administering a sworn affidavit, and a six-month suspension in 1999 for making false entries in law firm records to conceal his expenditure of $16,000 in law firm funds for his personal use.

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