In the Matter of Keila D. Ravelo, an attorney and counselor-at-law: Attorney Grievance Committee for the First Judicial Department, Petitioner, Keila D. Ravelo, Respondent.
proceedings instituted by the Attorney Grievance Committee
for the First Judicial Department. Respondent, Kaila D.
Ravelo, 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 July 20, 1992.
Dopico, Chief Attorney, Attorney Grievance Committee, New
York (Raymond Vallejo, of counsel), for petitioner.
Respondent pro se.
W. Sweeny, Jr., Justice Presiding, Dianne T. Renwick, Angela
M. Mazzarelli, Ellen Gesmer, Anil C. Singh, Justices.
Keila D. Ravelo was admitted to the practice of law in the
State of New York by the First Judicial Department on July
20, 1992. At all times relevant to this proceeding,
respondent maintained an office for the practice of law
within the First Department.
2017, respondent was convicted, upon her plea of guilty, in
the United States District Court for the District of New
Jersey, of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in violation of 18
USC §§ 1343 and 1349, and tax evasion in violation
of 26 USC § 7201. Respondent is scheduled to be
conviction stemmed from her involvement in a conspiracy with
her husband by which she defrauded two law firms (where she
was employed as a partner) along with a client of
approximately $7.8 million by submitting false invoices for
litigation support services purportedly rendered by two
entities formed by respondent and her husband.
the Attorney Grievance Committee (Committee) seeks an order
striking respondent's name from the roll of attorneys,
pursuant to Judiciary Law § 90(4)(a) and (b) and the
Rules for Attorney Disciplinary Matters (22 NYCRR) §
1240.12(c)(1), on the grounds that she was convicted of a
felony as defined by Judiciary Law § 90(4)(e), namely,
conspiracy to commit wire fraud (18 USC §§ 1343 and
1349), and has therefore been automatically disbarred.
Committee served respondent with its motion by mail, on
consent, but she has not submitted a response.
Committee's motion to strike respondent's name from
the roll of attorneys should be granted.
Law § 90(4)(a) authorizes automatic disbarment of an
attorney convicted of a felony. Under this statute, a
"felony" includes "any criminal offense
classified as a felony under the laws of this state or any
criminal offense committed in any other state, district, or
territory of the United States and classified as a felony
therein which if committed within this state, would
constitute a felony in this state" (Judiciary Law §
90[e]). Thus, a federal felony conviction will result in
automatic disbarment if an equivalent felony exists under New
York law (Matter of Rosenthal, 64 A.D.3d 16, 18 [1st
determination that a federal felony has a New York analogy,
the federal felony does not have to be a "mirror
image" of a New York felony but must be
"essentially similar" (Matter of
Margiotta, 60 N.Y.2d 147, 150 ). Thus, we must
compare the applicable federal and state felony statutes, as
well as look to our own precedent on this issue. If this
initial analysis is inconclusive, "essential
similarity" can be established by admissions made under
oath during a plea allocution, read in conjunction with the
indictment or information (see Matter of Adams, 114
A.D.3d 1, 2-3 [1st Dept 2013]; Matter of Lin, 110
A.D.3d 186, 187 [1st Dept 2013]; Matter of Sorin, 47
A.D.3d 1, 3 [1st Dept 2007]).
disbarment is warranted herein because respondent's
federal conviction for conspiracy to commit wire fraud under
18 USC §§ 1343 and 1349, if committed in New York,
would constitute the New York felony of scheme to defraud in
the first degree (Penal Law § 190.65[b]). Although
conspiracy to commit wire fraud has no direct felony analogue
under New York law (see Matter of Merker, 140 A.D.3d
1, 4 [1st Dept 2016]; Matter of Sorin, 47 A.D.3d at
3), admissions made by respondent as part of her written plea
agreement and plea allocution, read in conjunction ...