03.07.2014 Order Lifting Stay and Activating Suspension [Durham County]
On April 7, 2010, attorney Willie D. Gilbert, II, received a stayed suspension of five years. The Disciplinary Hearing Commission concluded that Gilbert had “violated the Rules of Professional Conduct by appropriating funds he held in a fiduciary capacity for his own use, and by failing to promptly pay a physician as directed by his client from funds retained specifically for that purpose.” The suspension was stayed on the condition that Gilbert complied with various conditions stated in the April 2010 order.
One condition of the April 2010 order was that Gilbert not violate the Rules of Professional Conduct. In September of 2010, however, he received a censure from a North Carolina Superior Court judge. Gilbert made false statements to the court (to wit, that he was required in a federal court in California) in order to continue pending matters in North Carolina.
Another condition in the April 2010 order required Gilbert to comply with all membership requirements of the North Carolina State Bar. Gilbert, however, did not pay his 2013 membership fees until October 11, 2013; the deadline was January 1, 2013. Finally, the April 2010 order required Gilbert to retain a CPA to provide semi-annual reports to the State Bar. Gilbert failed to comply with this condition, as well.
The hearing panel concluded that Gilbert’s false statements to the court in September 2010 constituted conduct involving fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct. Because Gilbert violated the Rules of Professional Conduct and failed to comply with other conditions of the April 2010 order, the hearing panel lifted the stay of his suspension. The order activates three years of Gilbert’s original five-year suspension.
View the full disciplinary order below.
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