LOS ANGELES — Newbury Park 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 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.