LOS ANGELES — Richard Charles Brizendine, an attorney practicing
out of Long Beach, was disbarred from practicing law in California
after he was convicted by a federal court of felony money
His disbarment began on Dec. 4 upon the order of the California
According to a report
by the Long Beach Press-Telegram, Brizendine pleaded guilty in
December 2014 to felony money laundering and conspiracy to structure
financial transactions to aid a marijuana-store owner in his attempts
to avoid federal reporting. Brizendine was accomplice and party to
the criminal acts of John Melvin Walker, one of his clients.
Walker, an area drug kingpin known as “Pops” according to the
County Register, had earned $25 million in a six-year time period
through his multiple marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles and Orange
counties. According to a report by the Press-Telegram, Walker’s
nine operations were run illegally. Walker was convicted of tax
evasion and conspiring to distribute one ton of marijuana and
sentenced to 22 years in federal prison.
Brizendine allegedly helped Walker hide his income through various
deceitful methods. The attorney deposited funds for Walker at
different banking institutions and through corporate accounts that
the attorney had access to in order to mask Walker’s wealth. The
sums were all under $10,000, which falls beneath the amount for
federal banking disclosures. The attorney reportedly attempted to
hide almost $400,000 for Walker.
Although Brizendine faced a 10-year sentence, his lawyer argued
for home arrest. According to another report
by the Register, Brizendine’s attorney claimed that he had lost his
identity, reputation and income as he was fired from his firm, Evans,
Brizendine, and Silver, prior to disbarment. In June 2015, the
presiding judge determined jail time was necessary for the nature of
the crime, with Brizendine receiving a three-month sentence in prison
and two years of supervised release.
After initially placing Brizendine on interim suspension, upon
receiving the federal court ruling, it was recommended that
Brizendine be disbarred. The State Bar Court of California determined
that Brizendine’s actions showed great moral turpitude as he
knowingly engaged in the criminal activity. The attorney was not
granted a hearing.
Brizendine will be required
to comply with the California Rules of Court Rule
9.20 subsections (a) and (c) in regards to his suspension. The
rules require Brizendine to notify all of his clients of the ruling,
deliver any papers necessary to clients in regards to their cases,
return any fees that remain unearned, and alert opposing counsel in
any pending litigation of his disbarment. Brizendine must then file
the clerk of the State Bar Court that he has complied with the
provisions of his disbarment.
The 61-year-old attorney was admitted to the State Bar of
California in 1981, according to his profile page
on the State Bar website.