A Minnetonka attorney has been disbarred after being accused of misappropriating funds from a vulnerable adult, among other alleged violations of the rules of professional conduct.
Paul Arthur Moe is disbarred effective immediately, according to an opinion released by the Minnesota Supreme Court Wednesday.
According to the opinion, Moe was retained by a client, O.M., to represent him in his capacity as attorney-in-fact for his father, R.M. Moe advised him in matters related to R.M. Almost two years later, L.M., another son of R.M., retained Moe to try to have O.M. removed as attorney-in-fact in the case and have Moe appointed as conservator and guardian.
Moe was appointed the conservator and guardian of R.M. in 2010, according to the opinion. In that role, he investigated whether O.M., his former client in the same matter, committed any malfeasance when he was attorney-in-fact for R.M. After R.M. died, L.M. challenged in district court the final account prepared by Moe.
Moe is accused of misappropriating about $423 of R.M.’s money as well as intentionally misrepresenting to the court his handling of R.M.’s money by failing to document payments of $2,000 and $3,629.40 either to Moe or his law firm. Moe also failed to respond to several discovery requests, the court wrote. As a result, Moe was ordered to pay restitution to R.M.’s estate for excess fees and was given a $5,000 sanction for acting in bad faith as the guardian and conservator of R.M. Moe did not pay the restitution or the sanction.
The court deemed the allegations against Moe to be admitted because he did not respond to the disciplinary petition brought against him. The court noted that, according to the allegations brought against him, Moe stole funds from a vulnerable adult to whom he owed a fiduciary duty, failed to pay court-ordered restitution and sanctions, represented a client despite having a conflict of interest, did not respond to discovery requests and lied to the court. Because his conduct harmed his client, harmed R.M.’s estate, and reflected poorly on the legal profession, Moe was disbarred.