On Wednesday, January 10, 2024, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court suspended attorney James F. Mears Jr. for six months. Mears had stipulated to misconduct in two separate real estate transactions that harmed multiple individuals.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of James F. Mears Jr.,” with case no. BD-2024-005.

According to records filed with the Supreme Judicial Court, the first matter involved Mears representing two brothers, David and Gregg, in the purchase of a restaurant and land. However, David impersonated Gregg and forged his signatures on closing documents and a liquor license application. Mears notarized the forged license application claiming Gregg had appeared before him. This led to Gregg being sued by a creditor and threatened with payment demands.

The second matter again involved David attempting to purchase a Rhode Island restaurant through a corporation. David secured funding for the restaurant but also wanted an adjacent lot. He introduced Mears to the son of the elderly owners of the lot, who falsely claimed authority to sell. Mears prepared purchase documents without confirming the son’s authority. David then changed the sale terms, producing a forged receipt stating the elderly owners received $350,000 which they did not.

During a phone call, Mears improperly advised the elderly owners to sign documents related to the fraudulent sale. The next day, he sent a misleading email to the lender’s counsel about witnessing the owners’ signatures, which he had not. When presented with forged documents, Mears falsely notarized the owners’ signatures, saying they appeared before him. The fraudulent deed was recorded, harming the owners who later sued parties including Mears.

The Supreme Judicial Court found Mears violated professional conduct rules regarding competence, diligence, honesty, unauthorized practice of law, and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. While parties stipulated no aggravating factors existed, the Court noted multiple individuals were harmed. On December 11, 2023, the Board of Bar Overseers voted to recommend a six-month suspension, which the Court imposed on January 10th.

The Disposition states:

“James F. Mears, Jr. is hereby suspended from the practice of law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for a period of six (6) months. In accordance with S.J.C. Rule 4:01,§ 17(3), the suspension shall be effective thirty days after the date of the entry of this Order.”

According to avvo.com, Mr. Mears Jr. is an elder law attorney in Beverly, Massachusetts. He attended the Tulane University. He acquired his law license in Massachusetts in 1985.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.