LOS ANGELES — The State Bar Court of California recently disbarred Wade Anthony Robertson, a Stanford attorney, from the practice of law after an investigation found that he had defrauded his business partner and client out of $3.5 million.
The decision was issued on March 31 and stems from a matter that dates back to September 2004 when Robertson represented plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against Credit Suisse Boston for securities violations. In order to finance the lawsuit, Robertson solicited funding from William C. Cartinhour Jr., who was 77 years old at the time. In exchange for his financing, Robertson offered Cartinhour a “fixed percentage of the litigation recovery.” Later that month, a business agreement was drafted and signed by both parties, which included a confidentiality agreement that prohibited the discussion of the partnership to anyone not agreed upon in the document.
Cartinhour initially put up $1 million and would receive 99.9 percent interest while Robertson contributed $1,000 and would receive the remaining 0.1 percent, according to court documents. The agreement also stipulated that Robertson would not act as Cartinhour’s attorney despite the latter believing that to be their relationship. Written correspondence between the two often included phrases such as “attorney-client privilege,” according to the court's ruling.
Between September and October 2004, Cartinhour deposited nearly $2 million into an account for the business. Robertson then allegedly withdrew nearly $1 million to deposit into his personal securities account. To add to the matter, the Credit Suisse litigation was dismissed, a fact Robertson failed to inform Cartinhour of. Cartinhour continued to deposit funds into the account until April 2007 when he hired another attorney.
Due to the moral turpitude displayed in the case, the State Bar Court of California determined that disbarment was appropriate. After a default was entered on Robertson’s behalf, the motion was passed and Robertson was stripped of all rights to practice law.
Robertson was admitted to the California State Bar in 2001 after graduating from the Stanford University School of Law. In the attorney’s 15-year career, he had no prior record of discipline.