On December 5, 2017 an appellate court covering Manhattan disbarred an attorney, licensed to practice law since 2004, who admitted he had ripped off 50 clients for approximately $191,000. Mitchel Tarter signed up 50 distressed homeowners, who he persuaded had meritorious claims, to sue their lenders to either void or modify their mortgage obligations.
Mr. Tarter, who apparently didn't know what he was doing, admitted he: 1) paid an illegal 50% referral fee to non-lawyer mortgage brokers for recommending clients; 2) fraudulently accepted advance legal fees which he deposited into his operating account rather than an escrow account; 3) filed a mass joinder litigation against a bank which was dismissed due to pleading defects and knowingly continued to sign up new clients for yet another similar suit he knew would be dismissed.
The attorney (not surprisingly) asked for leniency pleading his misconduct was fueled by drug and alcohol addiction. The Referee appointed to hear this case recommended a 3 year suspension of the attorney's license but the Hearing Panel recommended disbarment which indeed the First Department, Appellate Division adopted. In The Matter of Tarter, 2017 NY Slip OP 08498