Bakersfield attorney disbarred following allegations of misappropriating nearly $1 million

By Karen Kidd | Sep 8, 2017

Bakersfield attorney Heather June Christiansen Stanley has been disbarred by the California State Bar following allegations that in 2013 she misappropriated nearly $1 million that she was supposed to hold in trust on behalf of a client, according to a recent decision.

The five counts of misconduct against included allegations she "dishonestly or with gross negligence" between July 25-Nov. 14 2013, misappropriated $955,000 of $1,052,311.57 that she had received on behalf of a client, according to the 10-page decision and order of involuntary inactive enrollment issued Aug. 30. Stanley also is alleged to have provided an accounting of the funds to her client, despite eight requests by the client between June 12, 2012, and May 31, 2016, according to the decision and order.

Stanley did not appear for trial this past May 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.

Stanley was admitted to the bar in California on Dec. 6, 1996, according to her profile at the state bar's website. No previous disciplinary action against Stanley is listed on his profile page at the state bar's website.

Stanley told a state bar investigator in August 2016 that she purchased cashier's checks which she used to return all the funds to the client trust account and she provided a client ledger card to show those funds had been disbursed, according to the state bar's decision and order. Those statements were false, according to the decision and order.

In addition to disbarment, the state bar recommended Stanley be ordered to repay the money plus interest to the client.

Stanley has not been eligible to practice law in California since May 19 when she was ordered inactive when she failed to make a filing in the state bar's proceedings against her, according to information on her profile at the state bar's website.

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