In the Matter of James R. Jones, II, Respondent
Submitted June 16, 2015.
Appellate Case No. 2015-000535.
Lesley M. Coggiola, Disciplinary Counsel, and C. Tex. Davis, Jr., Senior Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, both of Columbia, for Office of Disciplinary Counsel.
Desa Ballard, of Ballard & Watson, of West Columbia, for Respondent.
TOAL, C.J., PLEICONES, BEATTY, KITTREDGE and HEARN, JJ., concur.
In this attorney disciplinary matter, respondent and the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) have entered into an Agreement for Discipline by Consent (Agreement) pursuant to Rule 21 of the Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement (RLDE) contained in Rule 413 of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules (SCACR). In the Agreement, respondent admits misconduct and consents to the imposition of any sanction in Rule 7(b), RLDE. He requests that the sanction be imposed retroactively to November 27, 2007, the date of his interim suspension. In the Matter of Jones, 375 S.C. 493, 654 S.E.2d 271 (2007). Respondent further agrees to enter into a restitution plan with the Commission on Lawyer Conduct (the Commission) to repay persons and entities harmed as a result of his misconduct. Finally, in the event he is reinstated to the practice of law, respondent agrees to complete the Legal Ethics and Practice Program Ethics School and Trust Account School with twelve (12) months of the date of his reinstatement. We accept the Agreement and disbar respondent from the practice of law in this state, not retroactively to the date of his interim suspension. Further, within thirty (30) days of the date of this order, respondent shall enter into a restitution plan with the Commission to pay restitution as directed hereafter in this opinion. Finally, in the event he is reinstated to the practice of law, respondent shall complete the Legal Ethics and Practice Program Ethics School and Trust Account School no later than twelve (12) months from the date of his reinstatement. The facts, as set forth in the Agreement, are as follows.
On March 29, 2007, respondent took possession of $1,400,000 for Complainant A from the sale of property in Horry County. Respondent agreed to hold the proceeds from the transaction in trust on behalf of Bogey Exchange Company, Inc., which was created by respondent to act as a Qualified Intermediary.
In June 2007, respondent issued a check from the Bogey Exchange Company trust account to Complainant A's sister that was returned for insufficient funds. Within approximately fourteen (14) days, respondent made the check good. After June 2007, respondent failed to return repeated messages from Complainant A regarding the monies in the trust account.
On November 7, 2007, respondent issued two checks for $158,721.58 and $135,000 from
the Bogey Exchange Company trust account made payable to Complainant A. Before depositing the checks, Complainant A was able to verify with the bank that there were insufficient funds in the Bogey Exchange Company account to cover the checks. Respondent admitted to Complainant A that ...