On Wednesday, June 1, 2023, the Supreme Court of California disciplined attorney Frank R. Sariol as a result of serious misconduct in handling client funds.

The case is entitled “In the matter of Frank R. Sariol”, and was bought by the State Bar with case no. S275926.

The charges cited Business and Professions Code Section 6103, 6016, California Former Rules of Professional Conduct, rule 4-100(A) and California Rules of Professional Conduct 1.15(a). 

The State Bar of California has filed a Notice of Disciplinary Charges against attorney Frank R. Sariol for alleged violations related to misuse of client funds. The notice dated January 27, 2021, charges Sariol with five counts of misconduct.

The notice states that in March 2017, Sariol received a $3,000 check to pay attorney’s fees owed to a former lawyer for Sariol’s client Roland Salguero. But instead of depositing the funds into a trust account, Sariol is accused of misappropriation:

“Rather than depositing the monies in a trust account, respondent willfully and intentionally misappropriated the $3,000 by depositing it directly into respondent’s business account and thereafter spending said monies.”

Sariol was charged with moral turpitude for misappropriation under California Business and Professions Code section 6106. He also faced charges for failing to maintain client funds in a trust account and failing to promptly pay the lien holder, violating California ethics rules.

The notice warned Sariol that failure to respond could lead to disbarment and monetary sanctions. Disciplinary hearings took place before the State Bar Court.

In response, the respondent denied the four counts of allegations contained in the notice of disciplinary charges.

Despite Sariol’s refutation of these allegations, the Supreme Court of the State of California has taken action, imposing a suspension of his practice of law in California for two years, with this suspension being stayed. Instead, Sariol will be subjected to a two-year probationary period under these conditions:

1. Respondent is suspended from the practice of law for the first six months of probation;
2. Respondent must also comply with the other conditions of probation recommended by the Review Department of the State Bar Court in its modified Opinion filed on March 20, 2023; and
3. At the expiration of the period of probation, if Respondent has complied with all conditions of probation, the period of stayed suspension will be satisfied and that suspension will be terminated.

Mr. Sariol attended the Western State University College of Law, graduating in 1988. He practices in Santa Ana, California. He is licensed in California. His info can be found on martindale.com.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.