Northern California Record

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Pasadena attorney disbarred over seven counts of moral turpitude

By Karen Kidd | Jul 24, 2017

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Pasadena attorney Shant Ohanian has been disbarred by the California State Bar over multiple allegations he fabricated documents, including checks and settlement amounts in the cases of separate clients he represented, according to a recent decision.

Ohanian was charged with seven counts of moral turpitude and two counts of failing to perform with competence in connection with two client matters, according to the decision and order of involuntary inactive enrollment issued June 28. One of the counts of moral turpitude involved telling his client that her claim had settled for $25,000 when Ohanian "was grossly negligent in not knowing the statement was false," the decision said.

Ohanian failed to participate in person or via counsel and state bar's decision and order for disbarment was entered by default. In cases such as this, when an attorney fails to participate in a California State Bar disciplinary proceeding despite adequate notice and opportunity, the bar invokes Rule 5.85, which provides the procedure for the state bar to recommend an attorney’s disbarment.

The bar's decision is pending final action by the California Supreme Court, an appeal before the bar's Review Department or expiration of time in which parties to may request further review within the State Bar Court.

Ohanian was admitted to the bar in California Jan. 3, 2012, according to his profile on the state bar's website.

Among the other counts against Ohanian were allegations he fabricated and forged a signature on one document and telling a client he had made a $125,000 wire transfer into the client's personal account when Ohanian "was grossly negligent in not knowing that he had not made the wire transfer" the decision said. Another count against Ohanian involved providing to his client a document that was supposed to be a copy of a $137,025.58 check from her former employer, which Ohanian allegedly fabricated.

In a separate client matter, Ohanian allegedly told his client that her claim against her former employer had been settled for $77,000, a statement that turned out to be false, according to the decision. Ohanian allegedly showed the client a document he said represented a check for $67,232.45 from her former employer, which Ohanian also fabricated, according to the decision.

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State Bar Court of California