Attorney Convicted of Workers’ Payment Fraud Suspended for Two Years

A Cuyahoga County lawyer convicted of workers’ payment fraud and who owes more than $950,000 in restitution was suspended from the practice of legislation for two several years by the Supreme Court of Ohio nowadays.

Robert Fitz of Westlake has been less than an interim suspension due to the fact 2019, when the Supreme Court docket gained see of his conviction. In a unanimous for each curiam opinion, the Courtroom imposed the two-12 months suspension with no credit rating for time served during the interim suspension. If Fitz applies for reinstatement, he ought to present “proof of his sizeable, continuing efforts” to shell out restitution to the point out.

Law firm Owns Multiple Cleaning Organizations
Since 1991, Fitz received workers’ payment coverage from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation for 12 housecleaning companies. In 1996, he attained protection for just one corporation, RCF Licensing, but stopped paying out rates for the coverage in 2003. Bureau investigators started inspecting Fitz’s deficiency of payment and advised him it was unlawful to operate a business devoid of appropriate workers’ compensation coverage.

Fitz replied that he was striving to have his coverage reinstated. In 2013, the bureau learned that Fitz had several workers’ payment policies for his firms that had lapsed or been cancelled. The bureau consolidated the policies and presented Fitz with a payment strategy to catch up rates he owed. Fitz did not carry the insurance policies into compliance.

In 2017, Fitz was billed in Franklin County Widespread Pleas Courtroom with workers’ compensation fraud and two other associated crimes for not spending the rates. Beneath R.C. 2913.48(A)(7), “[n]o person, with intent to defraud or figuring out that the person is facilitating a fraud, shall do any of the adhering to: Are unsuccessful to safe or keep workers’ compensation protection as expected by Chapter 4123 of the Revised Code with the intent to defraud the bureau of workers’ payment.”

He pleaded no contest to one particular of the misdemeanor prices and was sentenced to 30 times in jail, which was suspended, and purchased to spend the bureau $2,000 in restitution.

Nonpayment Continued Soon after Conviction
In 2018, the bureau investigated Fitz yet again and identified he unsuccessful to maintain coverage for one more 1 of his housecleaning companies. The bureau calculated he owed $936,344 in rates for his relevant organization.

In 2019, he was billed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court with 3 felony counts of workers’ payment fraud. He pleaded responsible to one particular count, and the condition dismissed the other counts. He was sentenced to five years of community management and ordered to spend $965,235 in restitution.

Fitz appealed the judgment. Based on the conviction, the Place of work of the Disciplinary Counsel submitted a criticism towards Fitz with the Board of Expert Perform in August 2020. But the subject was stayed pending Fitz’s attractiveness. In late 2021, an appeals court affirmed his sentence, and disciplinary proceedings resumed.

Fitz afterwards agreed to pay back $250 a month in restitution. As of February 2022, he nevertheless owed additional than $958,000.

Fitz and the disciplinary counsel stipulated that Fitz violated two skilled perform regulations – committing an illegal act that displays adversely on his honesty and trustworthiness, and partaking in perform involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.

Supreme Courtroom Regarded as Sanction for Law firm
Although Fitz admitted to the violations, the events could not agree on a advisable sanction. Fitz questioned the board to propose to the Court that he be suspended for two many years with credit score for time served below the interim suspension. The disciplinary counsel advisable an indefinite suspension with credit rating for time served.

The board proposed a sanction that fell among the parties’ recommendations. The board noted that the bureau endured a sizeable loss from Fitz’s steps and that he has compensated a rather tiny volume of the restitution owed. The board also pointed out that Fitz engaged in misconduct for just about 13 many years, and it determined a two-calendar year suspension with no credit rating for time served in the course of the interim suspension was the proper sanction.

The Court docket agreed with the board’s suggestions. The Court also charged Fitz for the cost of the disciplinary proceedings.

2022-0350. Disciplinary Counsel v. Fitz, Slip Feeling No. 2022-Ohio-3108.

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