The Texas Board of Disciplinary Appeals (“Board”) has disbarred an attorney after he was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with his operation of an investment scam. In the Matter of Roger Lee Shoss, an attorney created fraudulent business entities using the names of corporation’s companies, which were still listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange, but had lost their corporate status, due to their failure to pay taxes.
The attorney solicited payments from foreign investors in exchange for stock in his shell companies. The money collected from investors was deposited into an escrow account at a Florida bank, and then wired to the attorney’s personal bank account in Texas.
The attorney’s scheme was eventually uncovered and criminal charges were brought against him in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. After trial, he was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Even though he was convicted of violating a federal law in another state, the attorney was still subject to discipline under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. Thus, the Board issued a petition for compulsory discipline.
After the hearing, the Board found that the attorney’s conduct violated of the Tex.D.R.Prof.C. Rule 8.4(a)(2) because he committed of a criminal act that reflects adversely upon a lawyer’s honesty, and 8.4(a)(8) because he failed to respond to the grievance committee. The severity of the attorney’s actions in conjunction with his failure to respond or appear at the disciplinary hearing justified the Board’s entry of disbarment.
Decision: In re Roger Lee Shoss