On Monday, March 4, 2024, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals Board on Professional Responsibility issued a report on the misconduct case of attorney Matthew A. LeFande.  The Board members were split in their recommendation for sanctioning, with four recommending a three-year suspension with a fitness requirement and four recommending disbarment.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Matthew A. Lefande,” with case no. 22-BD-024.

The charges cited D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct 3.1, 3.4(c), and 8.4(d).

The case began in 2018 when LeFande was found guilty of criminal contempt in federal court for refusing to sit for a court-ordered deposition in a civil case. As required by rules, the D.C. Court of Appeals was notified of LeFande’s conviction and temporarily suspended him from practicing law. The Board was then directed to investigate further.

In its report, the Board outlined four counts of misconduct related to LeFande’s representation of clients in various legal matters between 2014 and 2020. In the first count, LeFande represented a client named Anita Warren and her son Timothy Day in a lawsuit brought by District Title, a title company. Warren had mistakenly received over $293,000 that was meant to go to Wells Fargo Bank. When asked to return the money, she transferred most of it to relatives instead.

As the lawsuit progressed, the court granted an injunction preventing the dissipation of assets. However, LeFande then directed over $80,000 in proceeds from an unrelated real estate transaction involving Day to be wired to a bank account in New Zealand without Day’s name on it. The court ultimately found Warren and Day liable for the full sum and attempted to conduct post-judgment discovery. LeFande evaded service of a subpoena and refused multiple court orders to sit for a deposition, leading to his criminal contempt conviction.

In the second count, the Board found LeFande filed a bankruptcy petition on Warren’s behalf solely to avoid being deposed, even though she was not bankrupt. He also made frivolous filings in the bankruptcy case, resulting in sanctions from the court. In the third count, after Warren’s death, the personal representative of her estate requested information from LeFande, but he refused to provide it, citing attorney-client privilege.

The fourth count involved LeFande’s representation of a client named Teodora Simu in a contract dispute. After Simu was awarded a judgment, the other party filed for bankruptcy, triggering an automatic stay of proceedings. However, LeFande appealed rulings in the stayed case and made repeated frivolous filings in the bankruptcy court, resulting in additional sanctions.

In its report, the Board found LeFande violated numerous professional conduct rules in each matter. However, the Board members were split on the appropriate sanction, with some recommending a three-year suspension and others arguing for disbarment. LeFande did not participate or respond to the disciplinary proceedings at any point.

The recommendation states:

“For the foregoing reasons, the Board finds that Respondent violated D.C. Rules 3.1, 3.4(c), and 8.4(d) and Maryland Rules 19-303.1, 19- 308.4(c) and 19-308.4(d). As discussed in the separate opinions that follow, four members of the Board recommend a three-year suspension with a fitness requirement and four members of the Board recommend disbarment.”

According to lefande.com, Mr. Lefande attended the George Mason University’s School of Law.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.