Legal Ethics

Disbarment Recommended for N.J. Lawyer Accused of Creating Phony Billings

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A New Jersey ethics board is recommending disbarment for a lawyer accused of drawing a salary while creating phony billings at two law firms: Fox Rothschild and Margolis Edelstein.

The New Jersey Disciplinary Review Board recommended the punishment after finding that the lawyer, Kenneth Denti, created more than $350,000 in phony billings recording work that was never done for clients that didn’t exist, the New Jersey Law Journal reports. “His motive was financial self-interest,” the opinion said. “He wanted to continue his employment and his receipt of compensation.”

Denti earned an annual salary of about $200,000 as a contract partner at Fox Rothschild in Princeton, the story says. Fox Rothschild asked Denti to leave and filed a grievance, but Margolis Edelstein was not aware of the complaint until it filed its own grievance against Denti, the story says. Ethics rules in New Jersey allow grievants to make their complaints public, but they don’t require it.

The board also found that Denti submitted phony expense reports and had sex with a client, according to the New Jersey Law Journal story. Both Denti and the woman denied a sexual relationship and said they were merely joking in sexual e-mails. Denti also testified he had done the work for clients, but hadn’t kept good records.

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