On Wednesday, August 30, 2023, the Supreme Court of New Jersey disbarred attorney Jon Charles Cooper for creating counterfeit documents and falsely portraying the participation of non-existent entities.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Jon Charles Cooper,” with case no. 088263.
Cooper, in collaboration with Alan Messner, orchestrated a fraudulent scheme in 2006 through their company, Thirdstone Aircraft Leasing Group. They deceitfully claimed ownership of two aircraft to Merpati Nusantara Airlines, securing a $1 million deposit. This involved fabricating documents and misrepresenting the involvement of fictitious entities.
The Decision states:
“Specifically, respondent provided Merpati a forged document purporting to demonstrate that Company B had agreed to sell the two aircraft to Thirdstone. However, no such agreement existed between Thirdstone and Company B. Additionally, the respondent sent Merpati a letter, purportedly signed by the named partner of Hume & Associates, stating that Hume & Associates would act as the “security agent” for Merpati’s $1 million deposit.”
Subsequently, Cooper misused the deposit for personal expenses, resulting in a substantial tax loss to the federal government. Following a guilty plea for tax evasion, Cooper was sentenced to 18 months in prison, with 3 years of supervised release. The Office of Attorney Ethics recommended a three-year suspension, underscoring the severity of the offense and the significant financial impact on the government.
The Decision continues:
“Respondent himself addressed Judge Jackson and noted that he was “very sorry to be before you today. I did something, looking back, that’s unbelievable to me. I crossed the line eight years ago, got myself in a situation where I spent other people’s money, and now I’m standing before you, a federal judge, in a criminal case.”
The Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE) proposed a three-year suspension for respondent’s tax evasion. This recommendation was based on the gravity of the offense and the substantial tax loss to the government. The OAE argued that the respondent’s conduct was more severe than comparable cases.
In light of these developments, Cooper voluntarily consented to disbarment as an attorney in the State of New Jersey. Consequently, the Supreme Court of New Jersey ordered his disbarment.
The Disposition states:
“It is ORDERED that Jon Charles Cooper is disbarred by consent, effective immediately; and it is further ORDERED that respondent’s name be stricken from the roll of attorneys and that respondent be permanently restrained and enjoined from practicing law.”
According to lawyersfindlaw.com, prior to his disbarment, Mr. Cooper practiced in Washington, D.C., and held a valid license in the states of D.C. and New Jersey.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.