Attorney Licensee Profile
Thomas A Lacey #31359
License Status: Resigned
Address: 1522 "H" St, Modesto, CA 95354
County: Stanislaus County
Phone Number: (209) 521-5254
Fax Number: (209) 521-1781
Email: Not Available
Law School: UC Berkeley SOL; Berkeley CA
Summaries from the California Bar Journal are based on discipline orders but are not the official records. Not all discipline actions have associated CBJ summaries. Copies of official licensee discipline records are available upon request.
December 10, 1999
THOMAS A. LACEY [#31359], 67, of Modesto was suspended for four years, stayed, placed on four years of probation with an actual one-year suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Dec. 10, 1999.Lacey’s resignation from the bar is pending.The State Bar Court found that Lacey committed acts of misconduct in two matters.The first involved a divorce in which Lacey represented the husband. Although he deposited more than $275,000 in proceeds from the sale of real estate in his client trust account, Lacey later transferred the funds to a joint tenancy account in his and his client’s names. He used his client’s Social Security number to establish the account.For two years, before the divorce was final, Lacey paid his client $1,400 monthly in interest payments from the account. He did not inform the court or opposing counsel about the account or the payments.His actions violated a court order and constituted moral turpitude, and he breached his fiduciary duty to his client’s wife.In another case, Lacey concocted a scheme involving real property owned by a couple who were under financial pressure and wanted to sell it. They entered into an agreement with Grajeda and Associates, a business which bought and sold property in which the owner had little or no equity.The couple gave Grajeda a grant deed and $800 for closing costs, but he did not immediately record the deed.Another couple who was interested in buying the house was informed by a realtor that Grajeda was under investigation for fraudulent practices. The realtor put both couples in touch with Lacey, who is a real estate broker as well as an attorney.Despite a potential conflict of interest, Lacey represented both couples in a scheme to defeat Grajeda of his interest in the property without any further payment.The buyers paid the first couple $6,000, held in Lacey’s trust account, which he used to make payments for various costs and expenses, including attorney’s fees.Lacey filed a notice of default which contained misrepresentations, fabricated backdated documents, and improperly attempted to shield his clients from potential civil liability.The scheme resulted in several legal proceedings, including two unlawful detainer actions, and actions for injunctive relief, malicious prosecution and cancellation of deed, two appeals and non-judicial foreclosure proceedings. The bar court found that Lacey represented adverse parties without obtaining their informed written consent and he committed acts of moral turpitude.In mitigation, he practiced for 31 years without discipline, is involved in civic and legal activities, and has a record of pro bono and community service.
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