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In the Matter of Michael Aizin, an attorney and counselor-at-law. (Attorney Registration No. 2026540) | New York Law Journal

PER CURIAM — The Grievance Committee for the Second, Eleventh, and Thirteenth Judicial Districts (hereinafter the petitioner) served the respondent with a verified petition dated March 14, 2018, containing two charges of professional misconduct.  By virtue of a joint stipulation of disputed and undisputed facts filed in July 2018, the respondent admitted all of the factual specifications of the petition, as amended.  After a preliminary conference on September 17, 2018, and a hearing on October 25, 2018, the Special Referee submitted a report dated December 31, 2018, in which he sustained all charges.  The petitioner now moves to confirm the report of the Special Referee and to impose such discipline upon the respondent as the Court deems just and proper.  The respondent has submitted an affirmation of counsel in response dated February 21, 2019, together with a memorandum of law, in which he does not oppose the findings of the Special Referee that sustained the charges, and requests that the Court issue a private sanction or, in the alternative, a public censure.

The Petition Charge one alleges that the respondent misappropriated client funds, in violation of rule 1.15(a) of the Rules of Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR 1200.0), as follows: At all times relevant herein, the respondent maintained an attorney escrow account at JPMorgan Chase Bank, with an account number ending in 9272 (hereinafter the escrow account). On July 15, 2016, the balance in the respondent’s escrow account was $127,958.99.  On July 18, 2016, two wire transfers totaling $125,000 were deposited into the escrow account on behalf of his clients Valentin Avanessov, M.D., and Eduard Slinin, in connection with a transaction with Energy Realty Corp. of New Jersey (hereinafter Energy Realty).  On the same date, the respondent disbursed $171,220 from the escrow account, as follows: (1) $75,000 by transfer to his operating account at JPMorgan Chase Bank, with an account number ending in 7965 (hereinafter the operating account); (2) $75,000 by check number 5288 to his wife, Bella Aizin; and (3) $21,220 by check number 5302 for the Avanessov and Slinin transaction.  All of the foregoing transactions cleared the respondent’s escrow account on July 18, 2016, resulting in an account balance of $81,738.99. Two days later, on July 20, 2016, check number 5301, which was issued to Energy Realty in connection with the Avanessov and Slinin transaction in the sum of $100,000, was presented for payment and was dishonored due to insufficient funds. Charge two alleges that the respondent misappropriated client funds, in violation of rule 1.15(a) of the Rules of Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR 1200.0), as follows: On October 26, 2012, and December 5, 2013, retainer fees of $10,000 and $8,320, respectively, were wired into the respondent’s operating account by a client.  Between February 11, 2014, and June 19, 2014, the respondent withdrew $17,500 of those fees from his escrow account, as follows:

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