LOS ANGELES — The State Bar Court of California recently ruled to disbar Gerald William Filice, a Sacramento attorney, from practicing of law.
The court found Filice culpable Feb. 10 of mishandling a client trust account and violating the terms of his probation. The two separate matters were the attorney’s fourth and fifth disciplinary charges in a five-year time period, an aggravating factor when determining sentencing.
As part of a prior suspension order, Filice was required to submit quarterly reports to the California State Bar’s Office of Probation as well as a client funds certificates and proof that he attended ethics school and client trust accounting school.
Filice allegedly failed to adhere to any of these requirements, and on Feb. 18, 2015, the Office of the Chief Trial Counsel (OCTC) served the attorney with a notice of disciplinary charges (NDC). Disbarment was recommended Sept. 15, 2015 after a trial was held.
In the second matter, the attorney was hired by a friend to register companies with the California Secretary of State. Filice and the client agreed to a rate of nearly $1,200 for the services, and the funds were deposited into a client trust account. Filice submitted the petitions for incorporation but allegedly mishandled the funds in the trust account. Four checks for a total of $565 were issued in the incorporation efforts, but the account had a balance of $50.40 and two of the checks bounced.
According to the court, Filice sought a review in one of the matters while the OCTC sought review in the other. A three judge panel ruled to uphold the disbarment recommendation given that Filice’s prior disciplinary record indicated that the attorney would be capable of future misconduct.
Filice is a graduate of the University of Denver School of Law and was admitted to the California State Bar in 1981. He had several prior instances of discipline stemming from co-mingling client funds and mishandling client trusts.