LOS ANGELES — The State Bar Court of California recently suspended Keith Franklin Rouse, a Pasadena attorney, from the practice of law after the attorney comingled nearly $500,000 in his client trust account.
According to the March 31 decision, Rouse made six separate deposits between January 2014 and December 2015 into his client trust account. The deposited funds were personal funds or earned fees, which are not to be put in the same account with client funds. During this time period, Rouse deposited $455,514 and made withdrawals from the account for personal and business expenses. There were no client funds in the account during this period, so no client funds were misappropriated.
The State Bar Court of California took into consideration several factors. The court held that the attorney’s conduct had not caused any person harm. The attorney provided several letters that attested to his good character and said he was suffering emotional distress due to his failed marriage during the time of misconduct. Rouse cooperated with the California State Bar’s investigation. The court charged Rouse with multiple counts of misconduct because he had deposited the funds on separate occasions.
Rouse will be suspended for 60 days and will serve probation for two years. He was also ordered to attend the state bar’s ethics school and client trust accounting school as well as pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam.
The Los Angeles County attorney is a graduate of the Glendale University College of Law. He has been a member of the California State Bar since 1994 and has no prior record of discipline.