On Thursday, June 29, 2023, a California attorney who tried to extort money and property from his clients by threatening them with legal action was disbarred by the Supreme Court of California. Rogelio Vergara Morales faced multiple counts of misconduct for his unlawful and unethical behavior.
The case is entitled “In the matter of Rogelio Vergara Morales” with case no. S279784.
The transmittal of records filed on April 24, 2019, revealed that attorney Morales faced allegations encompassing 63 cases of misconduct. The charges entailed deliberate and illegal efforts to obtain money and assets using threats. These threats encompassed intentions to unlawfully inflict harm upon the targeted individuals or their property, as well as third parties, along with schemes to falsely attribute deformity, disgrace, or criminal behavior to the victims.
In connection with this matter, on March 27, 2023, the State Bar’s Office of Chief Trial Counsel (OCTC) sought disbarment for Morales due to his felony conviction. The appellate court upheld the conviction, and once it became conclusive, mandatory summary disbarment was warranted for felonies involving moral turpitude. Despite the disbarment request, Morales did not provide a response, leading the State Bar Court to recommend his immediate disbarment from practicing law within the state.
The recommendation states:
“On December 3, 2018, a jury convicted Morales of over 60 counts of various offenses, mostly felonies. On April 24, 2019, OCTC filed a transmittal of the criminal conviction. Based on his felony convictions, we suspended Morales from the practice of law, effective June 10, 2019, pending the final disposition of this proceeding. On November 7, 2022, OCTC filed a supplemental transmittal which stated that some of the convictions from the April 24, 2019, initial transmittal had been reversed.”
The recommendation continues:
“After review of the records submitted relating to Morales’s conviction, we agree that the conviction is final. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 9.10(a) [conviction deemed final when appeal exhausted and no petition for certiorari has been filed on direct review of the judgment of conviction].)”
The recommendation further states:
“The basis of OCTC’s summary disbarment request is Morales’s conviction under Penal Code section 115 (offering forged instrument). First, Morales’s conviction is a felony. (Pen. Code, § 115, subd. (a).) Second, Morales’s felony conviction involves moral turpitude. Penal Code section 115, subdivision (a) provides, “Every person who knowingly procures or offers any false or forged instrument to be filed, registered, or recorded in any public office within this state, which instrument, if genuine, might be filed, registered, or recorded under any law of this state or of the United States, is guilty of a felony.”
Considering all the facts mentioned above, the California Supreme Court chose to impose disbarment upon Morales.
The Disposition states:
“The court orders that Rogelio Vergara Morales (Respondent), State Bar Number 270706, is summarily disbarred from the practice of law and that Respondent’s name is stricken from the roll of attorneys. The respondent must comply with California Rules of Court, rule 9.20, and perform the acts specified in subdivisions (a) and (c) of that rule within 30 and 40 calendar days, respectively, after the date this order is filed. (Athearn v. State Bar (1982) 32 Cal.3d 38, 45 [the operative date for identification of clients being represented in pending matters and others to be notified is the filing date of this order].)”
Before his disbarment, Mr. Morales practiced in Riverside, California, and held a valid license in the state. His info can be found on lawyersjustia.com.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.