California State Bar Suspends Ronald Mix License For Paid Leads Totaling $155,000.00
California State Bar Suspends Ronald Mix License For Paid Leads – The California State Bar Court will have one of its San Diego lawyer's license suspended for engaging in an illegal conduct of client referral. Ronald Mix, a 78 year old lawyer admitted to paying for client referrals a total of about $155,000. While it is legal for lawyers to refer clients for one another, there is a lot of considerations that must meet the legal code.
Referring clients assures the referral a percentage, however that percentage must be agreed upon by all parties (the referred attorney, the client and the referred to attorney) in writing. However, the referral process must be from one attorney to another. I.e. any party if it was not an attorney may not be able to refer clients.
Therefore, Mr. Mix jeopardized his ethical code and engaged in fraud to receive more clients. He also committed tax fraud in May 2012 for claiming he paid donations to Kermit Washington run charity. Mr. Washington, a former National Basketball Association star, pleaded not guilty and claimed that he had pocketed the money from Mix. Given Mr. Mix’s firm specialization (athlete representation), Mr. Washington believes his role in the situation was legitimate and not a scheme.
Mr. Washington’s trial will begin on March 27, 2017 in the federal court in Kansas City, Missouri. Given his plea to one felony charge for committing tax fraud, he will now ow the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) an amount of $49,543. After signing a plea agreement on May 23, 2016, Mr. Mix, on the other hand still awaits his sentence that would determine his bar suspension. In addition to having his license suspended, Mr. Mix may be looking at a three year in prison maximum sentence and a $250,000 maximum fine.
Right to Fight Suspension Before Hearing Department of State Bar
Although Mr. Mix’s conviction fall under the constitution of moral turpitude and hence will have his license suspended, he has the right to fight the suspension with the hearing department. As of today, Mr. Mix is not listed as an attorney on his firm’s website. However, his lawyers did not indicate whether or not he is representing clients.
Mr. Mix’s plea agreement provided that he pays Washington’s charity, the 6th Man Foundation from 2010 to 2013 for client referrals from his personal and firm’s account. On the other hand, charges have been pressed against Mr. Washington for interfering with IRS laws, wire fraud conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and identity theft.
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