In the Matter of Matthew Thomas Libous, a suspended attorney. Grievance Committee for the Ninth Judicial District, petitioner; Matthew Thomas Libous, respondent. (Attorney Registration No. 4260055)
PROCEEDING instituted by the Grievance Committee for the
Ninth Judicial District. By decision and order on motion of
this Court dated January 25, 2016, inter alia, the respondent
was immediately suspended from the practice of law based on
his conviction of a serious crime, the Grievance Committee
was authorized to institute and prosecute a disciplinary
proceeding against the respondent, and the issues raised were
referred to the Honorable Jerome M. Becker, as Special
Referee, to hear and report. The respondent was admitted to
the Bar at a term of the Appellate Division of the Supreme
Court in the Second Judicial Department on September 22,
L. Casella, White Plains, NY (Glenn E. Simpson of counsel),
Scalise & Hamilton, Scarsdale, NY (Deborah A. Scalise of
counsel), for respondent.
RANDALL T. ENG, P.J., WILLIAM F. MASTRO, REINALDO E. RIVERA,
MARK C. DILLON, RUTH C. BALKIN, JJ.
OPINION & ORDER
Grievance Committee for the Ninth Judicial District served
the respondent with a petition containing a single charge of
professional misconduct. After a hearing conducted on April
20, 2016, the Special Referee sustained the charge. The
Grievance Committee now moves to confirm the Special
Referee's report and to impose such discipline upon the
respondent as the Court deems just and appropriate. The
respondent has submitted a response in support of the
Grievance Committee's motion to confirm, and contends
that the appropriate sanction for his misconduct is a
one-year suspension nunc pro tunc to the date of his
suspension under the interim order of suspension.
one alleges that the respondent engaged in professional
misconduct, as defined in former 22 NYCRR 691.2 and Judiciary
Law § 90, based on his conviction of a crime. On June
30, 2014, an indictment was filed in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York charging
the respondent with one count of obstructing and impeding the
due administration of the Internal Revenue Service (count
one, in violation of 26 USC § 7212[a]) and five counts
of subscribing to false tax returns (counts two through six,
each in violation of 26 USC § 7206). The indictment
alleged that the respondent failed to report income of
between $9, 800 and $129, 000 yearly from the years 2007
through 2011. On or about January 6, 2015, a superseding
indictment, inter alia, added a seventh count, alleging an
additional violation of USC § 7206(1), for filing a
false amended 2011 tax return that failed to report income of
respondent was tried without a jury before United States
District Court Judge Vincent L. Briccetti. On January 26,
2015, Judge Briccetti delivered his verdict on the record,
finding the respondent guilty of counts two, three, and four
of the superseding indictment (each in violation of USC
§ 7206), and not guilty of the remaining counts.
18, 2015, Judge Briccetti sentenced the respondent to six
months' imprisonment on each count, to run concurrently;
one year of supervised release; 100 hours of community
service, a fine in the sum of $25, 000, along with an
assessment in the sum of $300. In addition, the respondent
was directed to pay the sum of $3, 075 as the costs of the
his conviction of the crimes which form the basis of charge
one, the respondent failed to notify this Court of the
conviction within 30 days thereafter, in violation of
Judiciary Law § 90(4)(c).
on the evidence adduced, and the respondent's admissions,
the Special Referee properly sustained the charge, including
the allegation/charge that respondent failed to notify this
Court of the conviction. With respect to the latter, we find
that the respondent made a good faith effort to notify the
Court, notwithstanding the fact that he mistakenly addressed
his letter to the Committee on Character and Fitness.
Accordingly, the Grievance Committee's motion to confirm
the report of the Special Referee is granted.
respondent has no prior disciplinary history.
regard to mitigation, the Special Referee found that the
respondent had rehabilitated himself, was remorseful, and
would not make the same mistake twice.
urging the Court to impose a one-year suspension nunc pro
tunc to the date of the interim suspension order, the
respondent asks that the following mitigating factors be
considered: his genuine remorse, his unblemished disciplinary
history, his cooperation with the investigation, the lack of
venality, the lack of harm to any client, his various pro
bono and community activities, his active and leadership role
in the Hillsong Church, proactive measures he has ...