Mixing with the client’s fund is an intriguing thing to do. Not only does it charge one for breaking the moral ethics, but also does it leave a permanent black mark on his name and the kind of business that he does.
The same thing happened with Rutgers Law School Professor Ari Afilalo. As per the Rutgers website, Afilalo teaches courses on international trade law, business transactions and contracts.
Treatment of intellectual property in free trade areas, the law related to governing the elimination of non-tariff barriers to trade and the European Union’s system of judicial remedies and the international rules for the protection of cross-border investment is his scholarly interests.
It is shocking how a person who deals day in, day out with international law made a mistake of messing up with client’s money and that too, not just on one instance, but two: In first instance, December 2013, a respondent received $220,000 contract deposited on behalf of his client, who was the seller in a real estate transaction, in which he deposited the amount into his IOLA account.
The transaction happened between January 2 and February 14, 2014. During which, the respondent repeatedly invaded the amounting contract deposit such that, as of February 11, 2014, his account balance had fallen to $500.
Also to note that the respondent replenished the funds which were withdrawn with funds from his two operating accounts.
Rutgers Law School professor Ari Afilalo has a J.D. from Boston University School of Law and LL.M. from Harvard Law School. Though Afilalo is a tenured professor, he had maintained an active bar membership and had a transactional practice which is unusual for a professor to have.
It is also important to note how Professor Afilalo resigned from his license soon after admission of two instances where he is claimed to having misappropriating his client’s funds.
The other instances as reported in The Legal Profession Blog happened on August 5 2014. Wherein, the respondent deposited $100,000 contract that was received from his clients who are reported to be a married couple.
The couple represented in connection with their purchase of a condominium and deposited the funds into his IOLA account. At the time when the deposition took place, the respondent was holding $10,395.96 which were the deposition from another client.
However, between August 5th and 20th, 2014 when the transactions took place, the respondent invaded the funds by making transfers into his business and personal accounts. Because of which the closing balance on his IOLA account had fallen to $74,495.96.
In both instances, the respondent Ari Afilalo withdrew from IOLA [trust account], the funds that did not belong to him in order to meet his personal and business needs.