SAN FRANCISCO–Todd Macaluso, a Solono Beach attorney who defended Casey Anthony during her 2011 murder case, has been disbarred following his guilty plea to charges he  scammed clients in a wire fraud scheme.

Macaluso, a personal injury lawyer, has been the subject of several investigations since 2010. His first offense involved misappropriation and mishandling of client trust, which resulted in a two-year suspension from law followed by three years of probation. The lawyer’s misconduct has even inspired a petition for the Internal Revenue Services to investigate his finances. The petition received just over 100 signatures -- 200 were needed.

During his probation, Macaluso allegedly began a scheme to defraud both his clients and investors for personal gain. According to an FBI statement reported by the Escondido Grapevine, Macaluso’s alleged scheme entailed the use of client funds as collateral to validate fund transfers to investors. In addition, the attorney allegedly forged the signatures of several clients and notaries to facilitate the transfers. The sentence handed down in the criminal matter included five months in prison, a $150,000 restitution payment and a $100,000 fine.

Shortly after his release from prison, Macaluso was caught allegedly trying to smuggle 3,300 pounds of cocaine into the country on a private jet he piloted.

The state’s business and professional code states that when an attorney is convicted of a felony, especially one that shows moral turpitude with intent to defraud, deceive, and/or steal, disbarment is mandatory and no formal hearing is needed. Given Macaluso’s history and the nature of the charges, the State Bar Court of California followed protocol and disbarred Macaluso within days of his most recent conviction.

In accordance with the disbarment, Macaluso must 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. Macaluso must then let the clerk of the state bar court know that he has complied with the provisions of his disbarment.

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