On Thursday, September 21, 2023, the Supreme Court of Illinois suspended attorney James Thomas Rollins for five months, effective October 12, 2023, due to ethical violations. Rollins was found to have engaged in conduct that violated the rules of professional conduct, including misrepresentation by fabricating documents.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of James Thomas Rollins,” with case no. 2021PR00054.
The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (IARDC) filed a complaint against James Thomas Rollins alleging that he had engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. The allegations stemmed from Rollins’ fabrication and submission of false bills, receipts, and bank statements to his law firm to make it appear as though he had paid his capital contribution to the firm when he had not. He also allegedly fabricated additional documents to conceal his actions.
According to the complaint, in March 2016, Rollins and three other attorneys had agreed to form a limited liability corporation to engage in the practice of law under the name Sinars Rollins, LLC. Rollins had agreed to contribute $100,000 in capital in exchange for a 32.5% ownership interest in the firm. Over the course of several months in 2016, Rollins had fabricated and submitted purported bills, receipts, or bank statements to the Sinars Rollins, LLC firm that he had asked to be credited toward his capital contribution obligation. However, the documents had been false, and Rollins had known they were false because he had created them using a common word-processing program.
The findings of fact and conclusions of law states:
“Of the $81,859.39 that Respondent claimed that he had paid for services to or equipment for the firm, he had actually paid only $18,071.81. Respondent knew the purported documents were false, because he had created them using a common word-processing program, and he knew the fabricated documents did not reflect either the amounts paid to the vendors or the actual circumstances of the payments made to those vendors.”
In or around May 2017, the firm’s bookkeeper noticed irregularities in the documents Rollins submitted and asked for additional documentation to support his claimed capital contributions. Rollins then provided the firm with two purported personal checks, one for $17,175 made out to a vendor and one for $17,550 made out to a person affiliated with a vendor. Both of these purported personal checks were false, and Rollins knew they were false because he had created them himself using a computer program.
The IARDC charged Rollins with violating the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, which states that a lawyer shall not engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. Rollins confirmed all the relevant information that supports the misconduct allegations against him. The Hearing Board found that the charges were proven and recommended that Rollins be suspended for five months.
In its order, the Supreme Court of Illinois approved the recommendation and suspended Rollins for five months. Rollins was also ordered to reimburse the Client Protection Program Trust Fund for any payments arising from his conduct prior to the termination of the suspension.
The Disposition states:
“Respondent James Thomas Rollins is suspended from the practice of law for five (5) months, as recommended by the Review Board.”
According to avvo.com, Mr. Rollins is a business attorney in Chicago, Illinois. He attended the Valparaiso University School of Law, graduating in 2003. He acquired his law license in Illinois in 2007.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.