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Johnston v. Kentucky Bar Ass'n

Supreme Court of Kentucky

August 21, 2014

SETH JARAD JOHNSTON, MOVANT,
v.
KENTUCKY BAR ASSOCIATION, RESPONDENT

Released for Publication September 3, 2014.

OPINION

IN THE SUPREME COURT

OPINION AND ORDER

JOHN D. MINTON JR., CHIEF JUSTICE.

Movant, Seth Jarad Johnston, KBA No. 91030,[1] petitions this Court to resign under the terms of permanent disbarment. The Kentucky Bar Association (KBA) has no objection to Johnston's motion. Movant was temporarily suspended pursuant to SCR 3.166(1)[2] on October 31, 2013.

Page 172

I. BACKGROUND

Movant entered a guilty plea in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky in the matter of United States v. Seth J. Johnston, Case No. 13-CR-00142-JMH to the following criminal charges contained in an information filed by the U.S. Attorney's office: two counts of mail fraud (18 U.S.C § 1341); one count of wire fraud (18 U.S.C § 1343); one count of obstruction of justice (18 U.S.C § 1512(k)); one count of distribution of controlled substance analogues (21 U.S.C § 846); and one count of Tax Fraud (26 U.S.C § 7201). The maximum cumulative sentence for these offenses includes imprisonment for up to forty-five years and fines of up to $1,350,000.00. Movant had not been sentenced on the charges as of the date of the filing of this petition. At present, although the KBA is investigating all of the offenses, the Inquiry Commission has not yet returned formal disciplinary charges.

II. KBA FILE 21299

KBA File 21299 relates to Count 1 and Count 3 of the information. charges. Count I charged that Movant committed mail fraud in connection with a lawsuit brought in the wake of the well-known, and notorious, Fen-phen litigation to recover funds wrongfully diverted from the Fen-phen plaintiffs. Movant devised a scheme to divert to his own personal accounts, $14,963.05 that his firm collected for the Fen-phen clients.

Count III of the information charged Movant with committing wire fraud by devising a scheme by which he fraudulently gained access under false pretenses to a bank account of his associate, Angela Ford, and stole money from her. Movant used that money to cover amounts he had stolen from clients, and which he had diverted to his personal use, including his role in a conspiracy to illegally distribute synthetic marijuana as set out in Count 5.

Movant acknowledges that the foregoing facts would support disciplinary charges for violations of SCR 3.130-8.4(b) (criminal act reflecting adversely on lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects) and SCR 3.130-8.4(c) ...


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