Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.
This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the Official Reports.
Decided on February 21, 2012
SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE DIVISIONFirst Judicial Department
Richard T. Andrias,Justice Presiding, John W. Sweeny, Jr. Karla Moskowitz Dianne T. Renwick Helen E. Freedman,Justices.
Disciplinary proceedings instituted by the Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department. Respondent, James W. Margulies, was admitted to the Bar of the State of New York at a Term of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for the First Judicial Department on June 20, 1994.
Respondent James W. Margulies was admitted to the practice of law in the State of New York by the First Judicial Department on June 20, 1994, under the name James Warren Margulies. At all times relevant to this proceeding, respondent maintained his principal place of business in Cleveland, Ohio.
Respondent and a co-defendant were indicted for various felonies relating to their participation between 2004 and 2008 in a massive securities fraud "pump-and-dump" scheme whereby they artificially inflated stock prices of Industrial Enterprises of America, Inc. before selling off essentially worthless shares of stock to a series of investors, which destroyed the value of the company and drove it into bankruptcy.
On July 19, 2011, in Supreme Court, New York County, respondent was convicted, after a jury trial, of 30 felonies, to wit, grand larceny in the first degree in violation of Penal Law § 155.42 (2 counts), a class B felony; scheme to defraud in the first degree in violation of Penal Law § 190.65(1)(b), a class E felony; conspiracy in the fourth degree in violation of Penal Law § 105.10(1), a class E felony; falsifying business records in the first degree in violation of Penal Law § 175.10 (24 counts), a class E felony; and violation of General Business Law § 352-c(5) and (6) (Martin Act), class E felonies (see Ex. B).
On September 9, 2011, respondent was sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years on the class E felonies to run concurrently to 7 to 21 years on the class B felonies, and was ordered to make restitution in the sum of $7 million.
The Departmental Disciplinary Committee now seeks an order striking respondent's name from the roll of attorneys, pursuant to Judiciary Law § 90(4)(b), on the ground that by virtue of his felony conviction he has been automatically disbarred (see Matter of Berman, 53 AD3d 11 [automatic disbarrment where attorney convicted of grand larceny in the first degree]; Matter of Brown, 51 AD3d 76 [automatic disbarrment where attorney convicted of grand larceny in first degree and falsifying business records in the first degree]; Matter of Weissman, 5 AD3d 28 [automatic disbarrment based on felony convictions of, inter alia, scheme to defraud in the first degree and falsifying business records in the first degree]). Respondent has failed to appear or answer the petition.
Judiciary Law § 90(4)(a) provides that any person being an attorney and counselor-at-law who is convicted of a felony as provided in paragraph (e), shall, upon such conviction, cease to be an attorney or counselor-at-law. Judiciary Law § 90(4)(e) provides, in pertinent part, that "[f]or purposes of this subdivision, the term felony shall mean any criminal offense classified as a felony under the laws of this state ..." Since respondent was convicted of ...