State bar court recommends attorney who admitted misappropriating more than $127,000 be disbarred

By Karen Kidd | Nov 5, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO (Northern California Record) — Auburn attorney Rick L. Raynsford faces possible disbarment following a recently announced California State Bar Court recommendation after he was found culpable in 11 counts of misconduct in a single client matter.

Raynsford admitted to intentionally misappropriating more than $127,000 in levied funds in a mortgage foreclosure case, according to the state bar court's Oct. 4 amended decision and order of involuntary inactive enrollment. Raynsford never returned the funds, according to the decision and order.

"This is a significant aggravating circumstance," the 28-page decision and order said.

Raynsford also was found culpable of allegations that included two counts of aiding in the unauthorized practice of law, breach of fiduciary duty, misrepresentation by omission, commingling and failure to obey a court order.

"In light of his serious misconduct, as well as the evidence in aggravation and the lack of mitigation, the court recommends that respondent be disbarred," the decision and order said.

The state bar's recommendation is pending final action by the California Supreme Court, an appeal before the state bar's review department or expiration of time when parties can request further review within the state bar court.

Raynsford's recommended discipline was among the dispositions filed earlier this month by the state bar court's hearing department for October.  

Raynsford was admitted to the bar in California on Dec. 3, 1982, according to his profile at the state bar website.  

The state bar court's recommendation included an involuntary inactive enrollment order that rendered Raynsford  involuntarily enrolled as an inactive member of the State Bar of California. That order was effective three calendar days after service, according to the recommendation.

In a previous discipline, in May 2013 Raynsford, then 56, received a fully stayed two-year suspension and was placed on two years' probation, with 60 days of actual suspension, after he stipulated to three counts of misconduct, according to information on his state bar profile. Raynsford stipulated to a single count of failing to return unearned fees and two counts of improper withdrawal from employment.

At the time, Raynesford lack of a disciplinary record in more than 26 years of legal practice in California, along with cooperating with the state bar and demonstrating remorse, were considered mitigating factors in the discipline.

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