On Friday, February 24, 2023, the Supreme Court of California suspended attorney John Matthew Schum for impersonating a certain individual and using the latter’s personal information and identity to cancel that person’s bank account.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of John Matthew Schum,” with case no. S277913.

In the stipulation of facts, conclusions of law, and disposition and order, dated November 18, 2022, it was alleged that the respondent obtained a certain individual’s social security number, telephone number, and other personal identifying information to cancel the accounts of this person in a certain bank. The respondent did this without the consent of the person and even falsely represented him.

The respondent’s actions caused financial hardship to this person in his personal and business life, as he had no access to his money. New cards were not issued to him until approximately three weeks later.

The filing states:

“Mr. Sterzenbach subsequently filed a crime report with the City of San Diego Police Department regarding the respondent’s unauthorized use of his personal identifying information, impersonation of him, and cancellation of his financial accounts with Comerica. During the course of its investigation the State Bar learned that the District Attorney for the County of San Diego did not initiate criminal prosecution against the respondent because at the time it received the crime report regarding the respondent’s conduct, the one-year limitations period for prosecuting the conduct had expired.”

The filing continues:

“Respondent engaged in a concerted, intentional, and dishonest effort to impersonate Mr. Sterzenbach and cancel Mr. Sterzenbach’s personal and business accounts with Comerica. Although the respondent’s conduct did not involve the practice of law, the respondent engaged in conduct that involved moral turpitude, which occurred during the time when Mr. Sterzenbach had a temporary restraining order against him.”

On December 14, 2022, the State Bar transmitted its recommendation of discipline against the respondent to the Supreme Court of California. Consistent with the recommendation, the court issued an order suspending the respondent from the practice of law.

The Disposition states:

“The court orders that John Matthew Schum (Respondent), State Bar Number 163376, is suspended from the practice of law in California for one year, execution of that period of suspension is stayed, and Respondent is placed on probation for one year subject to the following conditions:

    1. Respondent is suspended from the practice of law for the first 60 days of probation.
    2. Respondent must comply with the other conditions of probation recommended by the Hearing Department of the State Bar Court in its Order Approving Stipulation filed on November 18, 2022.
    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. Schum attended the California Western School of Law. He practices in Cathedral City, California. He is licensed in California. His info can be found on lawyer.com.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.