If I stole $250K from the State of Connecticut, Federal prosecutors would wheel out the electric chair. If your name is Attorney Louis Rubano and you worked for the prominent law firm of Lynch, Traub, Keefe & Errante, and you obtained a character letter from retired Connecticut Judge Angela Robinson of the high powered and politically connected law firm Wiggin & Dana, a character letter from retired Connecticut Judge Antonio Robaina of the law firm McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter. and a character letter from retired Connecticut Judge Michael E. Riley of the prestigious law firm of Pullman & Comley, not only do you get a walk but you would get a nine month vacation from the practice of law, also known as a suspension. After your nine month vacation you automatically get readmitted, without having to go through the lengthy and full body cavity inquiry process of reapplying for your license before the Connecticut Bar regulators.
Over a period of seven years Attorney Rubano lied to the State of Connecticut Department of Social Services about settlements he had obtained on behalf of his clients in personal injury cases. The State of Connecticut had welfare liens on numerous personal injury files handled by Rubano. Rubano was responsible for calculating the amount of the State lien and sending the State a check after he settled his cases. In most cases Rubano was required to send 50% of the net proceeds to the State of Connecticut. Rubano lied to the State of Connecticut in 129 cases and failed to pay the State a total of $250K. In each case Rubano prepared two separate settlement statements, a false one for the State and an accurate one for his client.
When Rubano’s employer found out that Rubano was scamming the State, in a random law firm audit, Rubano was shown the door and fired. Rubano reported his fraud to the Chief Disciplinary Counsel, rather than wait for his employer to rat him out. Rubano admitted that he committed at least 129 acts of misrepresentation and scammed the State out of $250K. Rubano’s employer, and his employer’s malpractice insurance company issued a check to the State of Connecticut to cover the losses.
Rubano was hauled into the Superior Court for his violation of the ethical rules of Connecticut lawyers. Rubano and the Chief Disciplinary Counsel reached the equivalent to a plea agreement. Rubano admitted his violation in exchange for the Disciplinary Counsel agreeing that it would not seek a suspension of his law license for more than a 2 year period. Rubano was represented by Attorney Robert Frost. Frost argued that Rubano has never been disciplined for an ethical violation in the past. Frost argued that Rubano was on the list of super lawyers in the glossy, and annoying “Super Lawyers” magazine. I don’t think that helped his case. Frost submitted character letters from retired Connecticut Judges Antonio Robaina, Angela Robinson and Michael E. Riley. These Judges all work at politically connected law firms. Frost also submitted character letters from the bottom feeders of the law profession, ie., ambulance chasers Faxon Law Group and Balzano & Tropiano. Its not clear whether those letters helped Rubano or hurt him.
Attorney Frost argued that Rubano did not profit from his transgression. The only ones who profited from Rubano’s fraud were the clients who got more money than they would have gotten had the liens been fully paid off. Rubano’s clients were more eager to settle when Rubano told them that they would get $4K in their pockets rather than $2K. Rubano only earned one third attorneys fees regardless of how much work he did on a file. If a client refused to settle Rubano would have to put considerable more time into the case. Rubano could end up spending many more years working on the case and possibly going to trial, the last thing a personal injury lawyer wants to do. The most profitable way to practice personal injury law is to quickly settle and move on to the next case.
Let’s compare Rubano’s lapse in legal ethics to my lapse in legal ethics, which landed me in Federal prison for 20 months. Rubano prepared two sets of settlement statements, a false one for the State and an accurate one for his clients. In my mortgage fraud conspiracy the closing lawyers prepared two sets of settlement statements, a false one for the bank and an accurate one for the buyers and sellers. The buyers and sellers profited from the false settlement statements, while the closing lawyers, just like Frost, made no money other than their attorneys fees. I got 20 months of incarceration for 7 false closing statements that closed over a 6 month period. My law license has been suspended since 2014. If I want to reinstate my law license I am required to pass a legal ethics exam. After I pass my exam I have to reapply before Connecticut Bar regulators who conduct a full blown investigation of my personal activities since my suspension. Rubano submitted 129 false settlement statements to the State of Connecticut over the course of 7 years and yet never got investigated, arrested or indicted. After 9 months Rubano’s law license will automatically be reinstated without Rubano being required to take an ethics exam or subject himself to a full body cavity search by legal regulators.
Attorneys who break the law usually go to jail for a significant period of time, like myself. Judges tend to give stiffer sentences to attorneys than non-attorneys. Attorneys are supposed to uphold the law. Plus the public hates attorneys. But attorneys with high powered connections get a slap on the wrist. Former Chief Department of Justice US Attorney for the State of Connecticut Harold James Pickerstein stole $600k from his client and got a 30 day Federal prison sentence in Devens, MA. Pickerstein’s federal sentencing guidelines called for 3 years of incarceration. Pickerstein raided his client’s bank account for two years. He used the money to pay his back taxes and go on a shopping spree. Pickerstein was caught after his client put on a wire and recorded Pinkerstein admitting that he stole the money. Pickerstein was sentenced to 30 days jail by Federal Judge Victor Bolden. Pickerstein surrendered his law license and agreed never to seek to reapply to the bar ever again.
Pickerstein received 70 pages of character letters, mostly from prominent attorneys and former prosecutors. Pickerstein received one long hand written letter from Federal magistrate Judge Holly Fitzsimmons. Judge Fitzsimmons, who worked with Pickerstein as a Federal prosecutor, put her reputation on the line when she submitted a lengthy handwritten letter attesting to Attorney Pickerstein’s good character. Fitzsimmons violated the Judical Code of Ethics when she submitted her letter. I called her out on it. She wrote a long apology to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals for her lapse in judicial ethics.
If you get in a car accident and you need a lawyer you can contact Attorney Rubano in October of 2020 and he will be a fully licensed attorney who can handle your case. My reliable source in the New Haven legal community told me that after Rubano left Lynch Traub he took 1000 personal injury files with him. Rubano opened a law firm with an attorney named R.J. Weber III. The firm is called Weber & Rubano. The law firm advertises on its website that it obtained a million dollar judgment against Walmart for a lady who was hit by a car in the Walmart parking lot. The law firm lists Rubano as an attorney, and has a picture of Rubano with Weber, but doesn’t mention that Rubano is suspended. Rubano may want to update his website to clarify that he is suspended. When Rubano is reinstated he may want to invest in vans and box trucks with neon flashing lights in order go get more clients.
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