On Friday, January 5, 2024, the California Supreme Court issued a final disciplinary order suspending attorney Daniel V. Behesnilian from the practice of law for one year, with execution of the suspension stayed, and placing him on probation with conditions.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Daniel V. Behesnilian,” with case no. S282562.

According to the Notice of Disciplinary Charges filed on March 30, 2023, by the State Bar of California, Behesnilian allowed individuals who were not his clients, Mohamed Salih and Dona Melikian, to use his client trust account for their personal business purposes between July 2018 and January 2019. Salih and Melikian were operating a fraudulent investment scheme that promised high returns through an alleged gold trade in Saudi Arabia. They deposited investor funds into Behesnilian’s trust account and then transferred the money out for their own use.

The Notice of Disciplinary Charges alleged Behesnilian committed commingling of funds by allowing over $600,000 in deposits from non-clients that were subsequently transferred out of the trust account. He was also accused of a lack of proper supervision that facilitated the fraudulent activities.

As part of the final court order, Behesnilian will be suspended from practicing law for the first 90 days of his one-year probationary period. He must comply with other probation conditions recommended by the State Bar Court, including taking and passing the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. He is also required to identify clients being represented in pending legal matters and inform them of his discipline under California court notification rules.

In addition, the court imposed $1,875 in monetary sanctions payable to the State Bar Client Security Fund. Costs were also awarded to the State Bar to cover their investigation and disciplinary proceedings. Behesnilian’s actions were found to constitute commingling of funds, lack of proper trust account supervision, and moral turpitude that violated California ethics rules for attorneys.

According to avvo.com, Mr. Behesnilian is a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles, California. He attended the Loyola University School of Law, graduating in 1977. He acquired his law license in California in the same year.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.