Disciplinary Action Against Daffer, Matter of, No. C1-82-836

CourtSupreme Court of Minnesota (US)
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM
Citation344 N.W.2d 382
PartiesIn the Matter of the Petition for DISCIPLINARY ACTION AGAINST Steven J. DAFFER, a Minnesota Lawyer.
Decision Date10 February 1984
Docket NumberNo. C1-82-836

Page 382

344 N.W.2d 382
In the Matter of the Petition for DISCIPLINARY ACTION
AGAINST Steven J. DAFFER, a Minnesota Lawyer.
No. C1-82-836.
Supreme Court of Minnesota.
Feb. 10, 1984.
Syllabus by the Court

In the circumstances presented, the lawyer's multiple violations of the rules of professional conduct warrant an indefinite

Page 383

suspension, with leave to apply for readmission in five years.

Michael J. Hoover, William J. Wernz, Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board, St. Paul, for appellant.

Joe A. Walters, Robert A. Brunig, O'Connor & Hannan, Minneapolis, for respondent.

Heard, considered and decided by the court en banc.

PER CURIAM.

On May 27, 1982, Steven J. Daffer, a member of the bar of this state, was convicted in federal district court of mail fraud. The Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board subsequently filed this disciplinary action against respondent Daffer, charging him with five counts of misconduct arising from or related to the federal criminal charge. Respondent was suspended from practice on July 21, 1982, pending final disposition of the disciplinary proceedings. A referee was appointed and a hearing was held on March 24 and 25, 1983. On August 8, 1983, the referee filed findings of fact and conclusions of law, finding all five counts in the director's petition to have been proved. 1 He recommended that respondent's temporary suspension be continued until October 21, 1983, and, as conditions for restoring respondent's license to practice, he recommended that (1) respondent perform a number of hours of community service, and (2) his practice be supervised for three years. The director challenges those recommendations on appeal, and requests either disbarment or a minimum suspension of five years. We hold that respondent shall be indefinitely suspended from the practice of law in this state, with right to apply for readmission to practice five years from the date of his temporary suspension.

Respondent is 32 years old. He was admitted to practice law in this state on October 22, 1977. From that time through October 31, 1981, he was associated with a Minneapolis law firm. After leaving that firm, he worked as a sole practitioner until his suspension on July 21, 1982.

Sometime before August of 1981, respondent opened two investment accounts with Dain Bosworth, Inc. ("Dain Bosworth"), a brokerage firm. On August 12, 1981, Dain Bosworth mistakenly deposited $150,000 of another person's funds into respondent's "Liquid Capital Income" account. Prior to that deposit, respondent had a balance of $109.10 in that account. Then, on September 21, 1982, Dain Bosworth mistakenly deposited another $19,605.49 into that same account.

About that time, respondent and a friend, began plotting a scheme to earn money by using the funds which had been erroneously deposited in respondent's account. On September 23, 1981, respondent transferred $172,534.48 from his "Liquid Capital Income" account into his other Dain Bosworth account. He subsequently contacted Investment Rarities, Inc. ("Investment Rarities") on October 5, 1981, and obtained information about purchasing precious metals. The next day respondent's friend inquired about hotels in the New York City area and then furnished respondent with the name of a hotel in that city to use as a delivery spot for a shipment of gold. On October 7, 1981, respondent contacted Dain Bosworth and requested that it wire transfer $152,935.10 to an account of Investment Rarities. With those funds, he purchased 200 Canadian one-ounce gold Maple Leafs and 126 South African one-ounce gold Krugerrands. He instructed Investment Rarities to deliver the gold to a Michael Cohen in New York. According to their plan, the friend was to assume the fictitious name and identity of Michael Cohen.

In furtherance of their scheme, respondent wrote detailed instructions for his friend's use in concealing the receipt of the gold. On October 11, 1981, the friend traveled

Page 384

to New York City to accept delivery of the gold. Meanwhile, respondent prepared identification cards in the name of Michael Cohen, by altering several identification cards belonging either to himself or another, and sent those identification cards to his friend on October 12, 1981. While posing as Michael Cohen, the friend accepted delivery of the gold shipment on October 14, 1981, and then returned to Minneapolis that same day.

On October 15, 1981, a Dain Bosworth employee phoned respondent to report irregularities in his account. He met with representatives of Dain Bosworth the next day and admitted that he had withdrawn from his account funds that did not belong to him. Either that day or shortly thereafter, respondent requested that Dain Bosworth refrain from informing the authorities. Respondent claimed that his friend would not agree to return the money unless Dain Bosworth agreed to do so. Dain Bosworth, however, refused to enter into any such agreement. So, to ensure a return of the funds, respondent forged Dain Bosworth's signature on a document purporting to represent that Dain Bosworth would not inform legal authorities of their actions.

On October 21, 1981, respondent returned to Dain Bosworth the funds which he had withdrawn, together with appropriate interest. The next day, before any approach or inquiry was made of him, he called the offices of the United States Postal Inspector and the United States District Attorney and requested a meeting to discuss his conduct. Also on that day, he paid to Investment Rarities the Minnesota sales and use tax in connection with the gold purchase. On February 19, 1982, respondent was...

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34 practice notes
  • State ex rel. Utilities Com'n v. Nantahala Power and Light Co., No. 227A83
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • July 3, 1985
    ...costs incurred under the FERC-approved wholesale rate formula as expenses for power Page 447 purchased in determining retail rates. 344 N.W.2d at 382. It is thus evident that the Northern States cases are clearly distinguishable from the instant case in that they both involved the direct di......
  • Mississippi Industries v. F.E.R.C., Nos. 85-1611
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • April 3, 1987
    ...Sec. 79k(b) (1982). 102 Id. 103 Id. Sec. 79b(a)(29). 104 Middle South Utilities, Inc., 35 S.E.C. 1, 10 (1953). 105 State of Minnesota, 344 N.W.2d at 382 n. 17 (quoting 15 U.S.C. Sec. 79a(a) 106 Id. 107 This doctrine is based on the companion cases of United Gas Pipe Line Co. v. Mobile Gas S......
  • Kidwell v. Sybaritic Inc, No. A07-584
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • June 24, 2010
    ...our court indefinitely suspended Daffer from the practice of law, with a right to apply for readmission after five years. In re Daffer, 344 N.W.2d 382, 383 (Minn.1984). The suspension was issued after Daffer was convicted of mail fraud in federal court. Id. at 383. Daffer had knowingly appr......
  • Washington Gas Light v. Public Serv. Com'n, No. 85-764.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • May 9, 1986
    ...these power costs through to [the utility's] customers"); Northern States Power Co. v. Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, supra, 344 N.W.2d at 382 ("While [FERC's] determination does not directly establish the return for retail rates, which is in the exclusive jurisdiction of the MPUC, ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
34 cases
  • State ex rel. Utilities Com'n v. Nantahala Power and Light Co., No. 227A83
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • July 3, 1985
    ...costs incurred under the FERC-approved wholesale rate formula as expenses for power Page 447 purchased in determining retail rates. 344 N.W.2d at 382. It is thus evident that the Northern States cases are clearly distinguishable from the instant case in that they both involved the direct di......
  • Mississippi Industries v. F.E.R.C., Nos. 85-1611
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • April 3, 1987
    ...Sec. 79k(b) (1982). 102 Id. 103 Id. Sec. 79b(a)(29). 104 Middle South Utilities, Inc., 35 S.E.C. 1, 10 (1953). 105 State of Minnesota, 344 N.W.2d at 382 n. 17 (quoting 15 U.S.C. Sec. 79a(a) 106 Id. 107 This doctrine is based on the companion cases of United Gas Pipe Line Co. v. Mobile Gas S......
  • Kidwell v. Sybaritic Inc, No. A07-584
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • June 24, 2010
    ...our court indefinitely suspended Daffer from the practice of law, with a right to apply for readmission after five years. In re Daffer, 344 N.W.2d 382, 383 (Minn.1984). The suspension was issued after Daffer was convicted of mail fraud in federal court. Id. at 383. Daffer had knowingly appr......
  • Washington Gas Light v. Public Serv. Com'n, No. 85-764.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • May 9, 1986
    ...these power costs through to [the utility's] customers"); Northern States Power Co. v. Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, supra, 344 N.W.2d at 382 ("While [FERC's] determination does not directly establish the return for retail rates, which is in the exclusive jurisdiction of the MPUC, ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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