LOS ANGELES — Newbury Park, California, attorney William Stephen
Tomasi was suspended from the practice of law by the State Bar of
California on Nov. 25, 2016, according to the State Bar website.
Tomasi, who was admitted to the California bar in 1988, will be
suspended for three years or “until he can provide proof of his
rehabilitation,” according to the website report.
Tomasi was charged with four counts of misconduct, two of which
involved breaches of his fiduciary duties.
The first charge, according to court documents,
stemmed from an incident beginning in 1999 where a disbarred attorney
asked Tomasi to set up a trust for the client’s daughter which
included two pieces of property. In 2004, Tomasi allegedly
transferred the title of one of the properties located in Simi Valley
and used it as collateral for a $60,000 personal loan. In October
2007, Tomasi was replaced as the trustee for the account. The
attorney who replaced him, Stanley Hilton, demanded that Tomasi
return the title to the trust and provide an accounting for the
$60,000. Hilton filed a lawsuit against Tomasi in June 2008.
Tomasi was ordered by the court to pay $478,000 to the trust.
A second count of misconduct was brought against Tomasi for a time
period between 2002 and 2007 where Tomasi employed the disbarred
lawyer from the trust account issue to handle civil cases for
Tomasi’s firm. Tomasi was allegedly aware of the attorney’s
eligibility status. Tomasi did not notify the State Bar that he had
hired the disbarred attorney to handle cases.
In the third charge, according to the website report,
Tomasi did not advise a client in writing about the ability to seek
advice from independent counsel, received advanced fees and “failed
to provide an accounting.” For the fourth charge, Tomasi failed to
return unearned fees in a prompt manner or give “appropriate
accounting” to a client.
In addition to the three-year suspension, Tomasi will be placed on
probation for five years. Quarterly reports of the attorney’s
business dealings will be submitted to the Office of Probation as
well as any updates to his personal or professional situations. In
aaddition to the suspension, Tomasi must take and pass the Multistate
Professional Responsibility Examination.
In accordance with the suspension, Tomasi must comply with the
California Rules of Court Rule 9.20 subsections (a) and (c). The rule
requires Tomasi to notify his clients of the ruling, provide all
necessary papers to the clients concerning their cases, return
unearned fees , and tell opposing counsel in any pending litigation
about his disbarment. Tomasi also must file compliance with
disbarment provisions to the clerk of the State Bar Court.
Court documents for all State Bar Court of California cases can be
found online at calbar.ca.gov.